Kenya: Activists Teargassed in Nairobi CBD in Demo Against High Power Bills
A group of activists marching on the streets of Nairobi against corruption at KPLC on July 25, 2019.
By Joseph Muraya
Nairobi — An attempt by police officers to disperse human rights activists protesting against corruption at the state-owned Kenya Power on Thursday failed, as the defiant group marched to present a petition to Parliament and the Office of the President.
Police had earlier lobbed teargas on the group, which dispersed briefly before regrouping.
The officers drawn from Central police station were outsmarted and left choking on the teargas they had lobbed on the group.
“Resist thieves, resist thieves,” they roared, as they marched to Parliament while waving placards with a hashtag #SwitchOffKPLC
“Viva comrades viva!,” others would be heard chanting.
The first teargas canister was lobbed along Kenyatta Avenue where armed police officers confronted the activists and informed them they had not followed the laid down procedure in holding the demonstration.
They then headed to the Supreme Court where they dropped a petition as others marched to Parliament and the Office of the President.
-Why they are protesting-
The group that started the demonstration from Freedom Corner within Uhuru Park said they were marching under the auspices of “Energy Justice 6”.
They were Led by activists Al Amin Kimathi and Wanjeri Nderu, who demanded the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta in cracking down on rogue officials at the Kenya Power which is accused inflating power bills issued to customers.
Also present was Naomi Barasa of Amnesty-International Kenya.
“Why has the President been this silent about corruption in the energy sector?” Nderu posed.
The demonstration came a day after Kenya Power Acting Managing Director Jared Othieno told a parliamentary committee that 3,500 customers had colluded with their officials to steal Sh35.3 million worth of prepaid tokens between January and February 2019.
“It is either the Government act or the people of Kenya will,” Kimathi cautioned.