Protesters in Kisumu

Dozens of the Azimio La Umoja coalition were at the weekend arrested ahead of planned protests in the country.

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome confirmed the arrests and argued it was part of the strategies to control the planned protests.

He announced the protests had been banned and warned of more arrests.

This is even as the opposition protested the harassment and arrests terming them illegal and aimed at curtailing constitutional rights.

“We are arresting them even as we are standing here. You commit a crime and you are arrested,” he said at his office.

He said they will arrest anyone deemed to have committed a crime.

Among those detained since Friday were Calvin Gaucho and Nuru Okanga, who are well-known for mobilising Azimio supporters.

Teams of police have been moving to arrest the supporters in part of efforts to deflate the protests.

They may be presented in court on Monday, March 27.

Lawyer Danstan Omari said the two were detained at the Kiambu Police Station.

“They have even been denied cash bail which is their right. This is wrong,” he said.

Omari said the two, who are members of the Azimio-allied Movement for Defense of Democracy (MDD) and were initially taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters after being held separately at Limuru and Karuri without any specified charges being preferred against them.

Omari claimed that Gaucho and Okanga were being held for allegedly participating in Azimio’s Monday protests.

“They have been told to record a statement concerning allegations that they participated in an illegal protest,” he said.

He said DCI detectives wanted the two to record statements regarding the demonstrations, but he advised them against doing so and they heeded.

The advocate explained that attempts to have the two released on cash bail were futile as the officers claimed they had “orders from above” to hold them in custody.

“We have tried to negotiate and request for cash bail but the officers told us that they are following orders from above which say they cannot be released," he said.

“On Monday, they are set to be arraigned and charged in Kahawa Law Courts, inside Kamiti Prison where the other ODM leaders were arraigned on Monday and released on cash bail.”

“I think all this is happening because of the planned Azimio protests on Monday. They are trying to arrest some of the leaders so as to cripple the demonstrations but we as lawyers will be in court to defend them,” he stated.