Ahead of the long-awaited July 7, 2023, dubbed as the Saba Saba, Migori governor Ochilo Ayacko has once reminded the police and the public of their roles.
Speaking at the helm of the inspection of the County projects in Kuria West Sub County, Ochilo said that the public has the right to hold peaceful demonstrations as the police remain active in guarding the properties and lives of people.
His sentiments follow a public rally called by the opposition leader Raila Odinga, on July 7, 2023, a day that many have anticipated to be marked by countrywide anti-government demonstrations.
“There is a need to defend and protect the rights of people belonging to different persuasions to speak their mind, to demonstrate as they want while calling upon them to conduct themselves peacefully,” he said.
Ochilo said that through this, there will be a sense of diversity as people would not be engaging in offensive activities contrary to other people’s views.
The governor referred to the recent demonstrations carried out by Kehancha residents who demanded security following attacks and the consequent death of a businessman in the town.
He was particular to the police and the internal security affairs asking them to remind the police of their role of protecting demonstrators.
“Peaceful demonstration is enshrined in our constitution. I call upon the director of internal security affairs to remind the police to remain committed to guarding peaceful demonstrators,” he added.
Governor Ochilo also condemned how police conducted themselves by failing to remain committed to protecting the lives of people during previous Azimio countrywide demonstrations.
“I want to humbly tell the political leaders that the way forward is political tolerance, accommodations of people from all political affiliations without criminalizing those who do things contrary to one’s opinion,” he said
He said that condemning the high cost of livelihoods by any government of the day applies to every leader including his own office and those who are offended have the right to complain through every peaceful means.
“Because it is the public that gives every political leader mandates to be in those offices, the public has every right to condemn any act contrary to what they expect from such a leader,” Ochilo noted.
He pleaded with the police to ensure that the responsibility of protecting the public should not be limited to a public gathering or where politicians are.
He went ahead to accuse the police for their brutality and harassment which he termed as unconstitutional and uncalled for.
“I plead with the police to continue ensuring that the tight security they give people at a political gathering should also be reciprocated during the peaceful demonstrations anywhere,” he noted.
On the other hand, Ochilo called upon the public to act within the provisions of the law and always reach out to the police on security matters wherever possible.
“To the members of the public that will demonstrate on Saba Saba, it is also upon you to ensure your safety before the police and always be on the safe side of the law,” Ochilo added.