Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula will be without their police bodyguards during protests they have called to oust electoral commission officials. This is after the Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet warned officers who participate in or accompany VIPs in “illegal activities”, which will include the protests will face disciplinary actions which will also extend to their dismissal.
The order comes from dangerous situations that arose during the demo early in the week when armed officers guarding the politicians were confronted by other armed officers deployed to break up the protest. Now if officers accompany their charges to the protests, they risk losing their jobs.
On Monday there were ugly scenes during a protest led by Mr Odinga when police VIP bodyguards scuffled with colleagues who had been deployed to break up the demonstration outside Nairobi’s Anniversary House, headquarters of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
In one of the pictures provided by the police, an officer in plain clothes is seen battling a uniformed colleague. The officer in plain clothes has handcuffs. Similar scenes were witnessed during the Malindi by-election when police bodyguards were pitted against their colleagues in sometimes violent confrontations.
An officer assigned to protect a governor was even accused of standing by and watching as a woman was stripped naked. The flip side is that the senior politicians taking part in the protests will be unprotected in risky situations.
And they rely on their guards to guide them to safety when they are overcome by tear gas or a riot breaks out.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and other Jubilee leaders have dismissed Cord leaders’ tactics, challenging them to follow the law in seeking changes at the IEBC.