Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition leaders have dared the Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome to arrest them in person during the planned anti-government demonstrations.

The leaders were responding to Koome’s move to ban their demos and declare them illegal. While addressing a congregation at a church in Nairobi’s Embakasi area, the party leader Raila Odinga dared Koome to arrest him personally instead of sending his officers.

Raila said he will lead the Monday demos from the frontline and told Koome he was prepared for him.

“The demonstrations we are going for are peaceful. So Mr Koome, desist completely from causing chaos. You say that you are going to arrest everyone…I am ready for you. Mr Koome, do not send officers, come face me yourself,” Raila said.

He called upon Kenyans to turn out in numbers for the peaceful demonstrations and told them not to fear the police.

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition leaders led by Raila and Police Inspector General Koome. PHOTO/COURTESY. 

“I am calling on Kenyans to turn out in large numbers for the peaceful demonstrations. Do not fear the police or the teargas,” he said.

 Raila Odinga: Bwana Koome, koma kabisa na usilete fujo na vurugu kesho. He says they can arrest anyone... don’t send the police, come face me by yourself because I will be ready at the frontline

— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) March 26, 2023

The party’s deputy leader Martha Karua echoed Raila’s sentiments and assured Kenyans, who will turn up for the demonstrations, that nothing will happen to them.

“No harm shall befall any of us or demonstrators. We are going to march peacefully as our constitution say and we shall not entertain any message meant to set us back,” Karua said.

She also warned Koome to stop disturbing their peaceful protests and act within the constitution like everyone else and noted that they do not need to ask for permission to demonstrate.

“You will follow the constitution like we do. The constitution does not say we ask for permission to demonstrate, it says we give a notice,” Karua said.

“We have not asked you for permission, the permission is protected by the constitution. Stop disturbing our peaceful protests. If you cause unrest, you will be cursed.”

Karua also dared Koome to slap handcuffs on her, as she was not afraid since she had triumphed over such threats during the late retired President Daniel Arap Moi.

“You have said that you can handcuff us tomorrow, come handcuff me. Tomorrow will be your day to handcuff me without any mistake. But your day will come, where you will be handcuffed for your mistakes. You will be punished according to the constitution,” Karua said.

Former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa who also attended the service also weighed in on the matter and also told Kenyans to come out in their droves and take part in the peaceful demos since it does not depend on the government’s generosity.

"Protesting does not depend on the generosity of Mr. Bungei, IG Koome, President Ruto or Gachagua. It is our constitutional right," said Wamalwa.

"We have complied with the law and we urge Kenyans to show up in peace we protest together."

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi who was arrested and arraigned over the Monday demos, also criticized Koome for banning the demonstrations, saying they will not back down since they had already issued a notice in time and their right to demonstrate is enshrined in the Constitution.

"The other day they told us that our notice was handed in late and that is why they termed the protests illegal. This time round we have given a notice for tomorrow's actions a week in advance," Wandayi said.

"Let me tell you Mr. Koome that the right that have been enshrined in the constitution which Kenyans fought for are not favours from any particular person or authority."

"Especially the right to congregate, picket, demonstrate and to do anything we want to do, we shall continue to exercise it whether you like it or not. People must respect each other,” Wandayi added.