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Police scuttle DP’s Nyamira event

A call from police headquarters on Wednesday night scuttled what was to be Deputy President William Ruto’s triumphant entry to Nyamira, a month after his visit to neighbouring Kisii County was marked with protests.

Hours after the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) said conveners of public meetings should seek approval from ward police bosses, it was established that organisers of yesterday’s event in Kebirigo had not done so.

Seeking permission from police before holding an event has been part of the law. Politicians have, however, ignored the existence of such a law.

Having received reports that organisers of yesterday’s boda boda fundraiser that was supposed to be presided over by Dr Ruto had not sought the necessary approvals, the State began mobilising police officers at dawn yesterday.

Dr Ruto’s advance team, which includes his communications wing, had already travelled to Kisii.

They linked up with the organisers in Kebirigo at daybreak and started preparations to receive him.

Kebirigo playground

The DP left his house in Karen shortly after 9am and went to State House for a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Cabinet adopted the NSAC directives.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i was named to head a team charged with bringing sanity in the country’s politics.

“The Cabinet unanimously endorsed and ratified the prescriptions and directives as issued by the NSAC, whose effect would commence immediately,” State House later said.

From the meeting, Dr Ruto was to head to Wilson airport and board a helicopter to Nyamira.

As the meeting progressed, more than 300 police officers descended on Kebirigo playground.

It was a show of might as police officers arrived in trucks just as a crowd was assembling around 10.30am.

They ordered everyone out. Young men who resisted the orders were met with teargas as the DP’s advance team hurriedly packed and left.

It was not clear who issued the orders to stop the event. Local police commanders and Nyamira County Commissioner Amos Omariba declined to comment.

General Service Unit officers

Police officers present said they had been mobilised from Kisii, Nyamira, Narok, Bomet and Homa Bay counties. General Service Unit officers came in two trucks from Trans Mara, Narok County.

Dr Ruto later postponed the fundraiser.

“We have postponed the two functions in Nyamira to Thursday. The disruptive dispersal by police of Kenyans engaged in economic empowerment is unnecessary,” he tweeted.

And as he beat a retreat, President Kenyatta was meeting leaders from Gusii at State House.

Present at the function, which began shortly after 2pm, were Kisii Governor James Ongwae, his Nyamira counterpart John Nyagarama, senators and lawmakers from the region.

Some 55 elected leaders and professionals attended the State House meeting. Dr Matiang’i was the head of delegation.

And as Ruto prepares to go back to Nyamira, Mr Kenyatta is also preparing to lead the nation in celebrating Mashujaa Day in Kisii County on October 20.

vachuka@ke.nationmedia.com, rmbula@ke.nationmedia.com

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