The Ruto-allied United Democratic Alliance Party (UDA) has condemned the police disruption of the party meeting in Meru, stating the act was unprovoked.
According to reports, members of UDA with political aspirations had met at a Meru hotel for a discussion. However, their meeting was soon interrupted after the area police boss came in and asked them to end the session over a lack of permit.
The police also said that the meeting party members did not adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. The aspirants, however, stated that they were meeting in a hotel and not a public place. Thus they did not need a permit.
CS @FredMatiangi orders a Meru DO to disperse a @UDAKenya aspirants meeting in a hotel. Kifua, Intimidation na madharau. Meru aspirants firmly on their seats daring police to arrest them all. Aspirant Forums in Western and Nyanza allowed. But in Mt.Kenya STOPPED! pic.twitter.com/MZ3jmfCj8o
— Dennis Itumbi, HSC (@OleItumbi) May 31, 2021
Disregard for attendees
Party Secretary-General, Veronica Maina, released a statement in which the Party condemned the action of the police officers. The Party said that the disruption by the police was another reminder that the law enforcement agency had not fully embraced the democratic process.
UDA also accused the police of using live bullets against the aspirants without regard for those who had attended the meeting.
“Police, totally unprovoked, invaded a meeting bringing together aspirants from eight counties convened by the party secretariat and lobbed teargas and live bullets (at them).
“They did not care about the well-being of the people, particularly those living with disabilities, who had attended the meeting.” The UDA statement said.
They said the Assistant County Commissioners and the OCS did not cite any breach of law or regulation as they invaded the party meeting.
The Party called the invasion part of a continuing trend of the police harassing UDA officials and party supporters. The Party cited the recently concluded Bonchari and Rurii by-elections as examples of continued harassment by police officers.
“We strongly condemn these unlawful disruption of a regular UDA meeting,” UDA said, calling on the Police IG to stop his officers from using ‘unwarranted force.’
UDA is affiliated with Ruto allies, many of whom fell out with their Jubilee counterparts and formed the Party.
Statement on action by police in Meru to disrupt party aspirants meeting. pic.twitter.com/5PAHhROTtr
— United Democratic Alliance (@UDAKenya) May 31, 2021