CORD temporarily suspends Monday’s anti IEBC protests to give dialogue a chance; gives Jubilee until 5th June to initiate talks. Here below is the press statement.
CORD PRESS STATEMENT:
25TH MAY 2016
Once again, Cord wishes to send deep condolences to the families and friends of innocent Kenyans killed and wounded in various parts of the country during the peaceful ant- IEBC demonstrations last Monday. Wecontinue to condemn the brutality meted out on innocent and peaceful Kenyans who were exercising their right to peaceably assemble, picket and present petitions.
It is getting very clear that Kenya is turning into a police state where freedom of expression, assembly and lawful struggles against the State will continue to be met with absolute brute force.
This turn of events is clearly part of a long term plan conceived from the start of this administration and now being executed. This is evident from the heavy investment in life taking equipment that has been placed at the disposal of the Police.
Brute police force is clearly at the centre of Jubilee’s plan for holding on to power just as was the case in 2007-2008 when up to 500 of the over 1300 post-election violence victims were killed by police as the PNU sought to retain power by force.
It is evident in how these officers have approached peaceful protesters; wielding extraordinary arsenal including body armour, automatic weapons, sniper rifles, tanks, grenade launchers and armoured vehicles that seem meant for Baghdad, Afghanistan and other struggling states.
The equipment at the disposal of our supposedly civilian police truly belongs in military barracks and not police stations. That they are in the hands of police indicate we are becoming a police state and sliding into being a failed state.
The investment in heavy military equipment for police was never meant to fight terrorists. Al Shabaab was just the excuse. These were bought to confront Kenyans and intimidate them against demanding their rights including the right to elect leaders of their choice.
These military gears in the hands of the Police across the country are creating a feeling in people that there is an occupying force. It is alienating, intimidating and scaring citizens.
In recent days, there have been mounting calls for dialogue. The Church and the international community have called for dialogue, which is what CORD has advocated since 2014.
We remain ready for and committed to dialogue as the best path out of the crisis facing our nation.
In this regard therefore, CORD has resolved to temporarily suspend demonstrations that were scheduled for next Monday 30th May, 2016 to give dialogue and peace a chance. Instead, we shall hold forums to condole with the bereaved and comfort the wounded. The suspension expires on Sunday 5th June, 2016.
We shall dedicate next week to the pursuit of peace, justice and dialogue with prayers for peace at Uhuru Park. Our supporters in the counties will hold similar prayers in churches, mosques, temples and sanctuaries with specific appeal for peace and justice to prevail.
If by the end of next week there shall be no concrete steps towards dialogue, we shall resume our weekly protests, which will only get more intense. The ball is therefore in the government’s court.