Fellow citizens, my heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones from police brutality in the ongoing anti- IEBC protests. Our county, our nation, our people join you to mourn this very sad loss. I condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the police shooting of unarmed citizens, whose only crime is coming out to express their constitutionally protected rights to assemble, demonstrate and picket.
Bearing in mind the huge loss these deaths have caused not only to the families but also to the country at large, as a nation we must ask the following critical questions:
- What loss will it cause if the Jubilee Government holds talks with the Opposition to resolve the IEBC stalemate?
- Is dialogue costlier than the lives being lost and disruptions of businesses witnessed as a result of the standoff?
To quell the growing tension and curb wanton deaths, the Jubilee Government must hold talks with the Opposition and do so urgently.
To the people of Kisumu County, we have made significant economic growth because of the peace and tranquility we have built in the recent years. As a people, we have struggled and made deliberate steps towards attaining peace and investor confidence in Kisumu. This has paid out as investors continue having more confidence in our county. Although picketing is a democratic right (and we will continue doing so until IEBC is restructured), we must jealously guard our economy by ensuring that our demonstrations remain peaceful and nonviolent.
The damages caused on two commercial buildings in the CBD is despicable and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible. I urge our youth to avoid violence of any nature during the non-violent protests and to look out for and apprehend criminal elements who infiltrate the demonstrations to cause violence and destroy property.
I wish to assure the business community that Kisumu will remain the investment destiny of choice, now and in the future. My Government will consult with the local political leaders and civil society to ensure that future protests do not result in damage of private and public property and that the protests will not unduly interfere with private business. I will in the coming days convene a meeting involving representatives of the business community, the informal sector, local political leaders, the civil society and the security agencies to dialogue on and deal with the concerns of the business community, the informal sector and other members of the community, even as we continue pressing hard for reform of the IEBC.
It is absolutely imperative that no one should hide behind “full force” orders towards our citizens who are protected by the very constitution that officers have sworn to protect and adhere to. The High Court has today, once more, validated the right of citizens to peaceful protests and the police should avoid provoking violence by using brutal force.
HE Governor J. Ranguma,
County Government of Kisumu