Police officers on Friday morning August 21 confronted and arrested protesters at Freedom Corner, Nairobi during a peaceful demo over the loss of COVID-19 funds.
The protest, dubbed #ArrestCovid19Thieves, was organised to demand accountability for the use of COVID-19 billions amid reports that funds allocated to deal with the pandemic may have been diverted to other uses not related to the disease, misapplied or misappropriated.
The police revealed it was against the Public Health Act to hold a gathering of more than 15 people, with the officers inquiring if they had notified OCS Nairobi of their impending action.
However, the activists say they had attempted to inform relevant authorities but none was swilling to accept their letter of notice to picket on Friday August 20.
They thus stood their ground at freedom corner despite being lobbed by teargas several times.
The police demanded that the protestors disperse from freedom corner.
The activists were about 15, as most were chased away before the number grew.
They later assembled at the Kencom bus stage, where the last stand-off took place.
Here, police arrested about five of them. The number later grew to about 11 who were under arrest.
They were seen being bundled into the back of a police vehicle.
“I am not a thief. You are arresting the wrong people. Kenya is not a police state.” cried out Wanjeri Nderu, one of the arrested activists.
On Thursday, August 20, communications consultant Wanjeri Nderu explained that the protests had been organised by the Kenya Tuitakayo Movement (KTM) in partnership with Facebook group Buyer Be-ware team.
On the same day, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund threatened to withdraw over Ksh 400 billion offered to Kenya as aid, after an investigative report revealed that cartels at Afya House were embezzling funds set out to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
KEMSA CEO Jonah Manjari was suspended, pending an investigation into the matter as Health CS Mutahi Kagwe defended his docket against the allegations.
Kagwe, however, acknowledged that cartels at Afya House were obstructing transfers and other efforts to curb corruption at the docket.
Watch a video below of the protests:
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