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Why Azimio Student Leaders Held Meeting In Nairobi Before Arrest



Why Azimio Student Leaders Held Meeting In Nairobi Before Arrest

He affirmed that the university students affiliated with Raila’s party would not be intimidated by government instruments…

Kenya University Student Organization (KUSO) President Anthony Manyara condemned the arrest of over 50 student leaders affiliated with the Azimio la Umoja coalition on Saturday, March 18 while staging a press conference in a hotel in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).

Speaking during a church service on Sunday, March 19 which was attended by Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga, Manyara hit out at the police’s accusation that the students were holding an unauthorized meeting at Chester House in Nairobi to advise their followers ahead of the Monday, March 20 demonstrations.

He affirmed that the university students affiliated with Raila’s party would not be intimidated by government instruments to the point of fearing showing up for the Monday demonstrations.

KUSO president Anthony Manyara speaking during a church service in Ongata Rongai on March 19, 2023. /FACEBOOK.RAILA ODINGA

Manyara explained that the student leaders had decided to convene the meeting to address the challenges affecting university students as they go about with their studies, further accusing President William Ruto’s government of the accelerating issues affecting the students such as LGBTQ and gonorrhoea in Nairobi.

“No amount of intimidation will make university students across the country not show up for tomorrow’s protests. I would like to thank Raila because Kenyan students have gone through a lot of problems and that was even the reason why we did a press conference yesterday.

“It took place because many of your children are in high school and university. They are postponing meals…they are not eating because the government has refused to disburse HELB (funds), it is even to blame for the rise of LGBTQ issues in Kenya, this government is to blame for even the rise of gonorrhoea in Nairobi, it is to blame for very many social vices that we have seen in this country,” he blasted.

Manyara further told supporters that his comrades would not be unfazed by the government threats and would show up for the demonstrations, urging Raila not to fear as he would be safeguarded by the comrades.

“We have come here today to make it very categorical, we are not going to be cowed, we are not going to be intimidated, tomorrow is a date with destiny, and I’d like to tell Raila not to be afraid. As students across Kenya, the power of comrades is greater than thunder, it is greater than lightning and a comrade is always right, a comrade is never wrong,” he went on.

Manyara also noted that similar protests would occur across a section of African countries on the same day such as South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia and despite promising that there will be peaceful protests, the eyes of the world are likely to be on the four African countries.

“We are going to be as peaceful as possible. If the government tries to bring us problems, they should know they are the ones to blame.

“ICC is watching what is happening, the East African Court of Justice is watching, people will come out peacefully from all corners and tell the government that enough is enough,” Manyara warned.

During the presser, the students under the umbrella of KUSO expressed their agitation against their arrest, accusing the police officers of violating their right to associate and express themselves without fear of consequences by the government.

More police officers then arrived to move the students to the Central Police Station where they underwent interrogations, with Central Police officers processing them with fear of spending the whole weekend at the Central Police post.

Meanwhile, members of the Nairobi Business Community had vowed to come out in large numbers to counter opposition supporters, who they accused of schemes to destroy their investments. Through its chairman Wilfred Kamau, the lobby group noted that its members would join forces with United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party supporters to repulse Azimio protesters.

The community also warned university students against taking part in the planned protest, noting that such actions would be dangerous.

Both the business community’s protests and Azimio’s protests have since been declared illegal by Nairobi Police boss Adamson Bungei for late notifications, against the Public Order Act 2012 which states that; “Any person intending to convene a public meeting or a public procession shall notify the regulating officer of the full names and physical address of the organizer of the proposed public meeting or public procession.” and shall do so three days prior to the procession, including details of the location, time and dates.

Nairobi Police boss Adamson Bungei speaking to the media on Sunday, March 19, 2023. /TWITTER