The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party is now demanding that President Uhuru Kenyatta apologises over the Monday incident that saw police lob teargas canisters at a group of pupils of Langata Road Primary and activists.
The pupils, who were injured and chocked in the ugly drama, together with activists were protesting the grabbing of the school’s playground.
ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba said it was unfortunate that the government was using excessive police force against little unarmed children.
Namwamba said the last time Africa witnessed such beastly brutality was the November 1976 Sharpeville massacre in Soweto by the horrible apartheid regime in South Africa.
”We cannot allow known land grabbers to steal the destiny of our children captured in our new constitutional order. It is shameful,” said Namwamba.
ODM secretary for political affairs Opiyo Wandayi said the incident was taking Africa back to the colonial days.
Wandayi said the incident is reminiscent of the situations in South Africa back in the days and in the former Eastern Europe.
“It is an indication of how low the Jubilee administration has sunk,” said Wandayi who demanded that the president apologises personally to Kenyans.
Member of the National Assembly for Kisumu East Shakeel Shabbir described the incident as sad day for Kenya that illustrated how the government does not care about the common man.
Shabbir alleged that many influential people in government are involved in land grabbing and this can only ruin the image of the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.
“President Kenyatta must apologise on behalf of the government to save his face,” said Shabbir, adding that CORD would follow up the matter.
Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo said the act by police is despicable and outrageous.
He added that a government that sends baton-wielding goons in police uniform to lob tear gas at defenceless innocent children loses legitimacy and must be hounded out of office.
“Those behind grabbing of children’s playground anywhere are heartless and primitive petty thieves who do not qualify to hold any public office anywhere in Kenya,” said Gumbo.
Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi condemns police brutality on Langa’ta Road Primary School children
Political leaders have come out to condemn police brutality visited on school going children as they protested grabbing of their play ground in Nairobi.
CORD leader Raila Odinga termed the Monday incident brutality beyond words and greed beyond description.
The children from Lang’ata Road Primary School were dispersed by police using tear gas on Monday morning, leaving some of them with injuries.
“I have learnt with extreme shock and shame that pupils of Langa’ta Road Primary School have been injured after police threw tear gas canisters at them and other well-wishers who joined them to protest the grabbing of their school’s playground,” said Raila who is away in New Delhi.
Raila said he could not believe that police can actually deploy against primary school children and lobby tear gas at them to defend a land grabber.
“I stand with the parents, pupils and teachers of this school over this land. At the very least, I am prepared to give them the benefit of doubt that they own the land,” added Raila.
The Opposition leader said that somebody must be held accountable for this “primitive and shameful action”.
Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi, while condemning the incident, said seeing injured toddlers wailing for help from law enforcers is embarrassing to the world.
“The heavy handedness is out of this world. Whatever the rights of those who are claming the land, nothing is more shameful than trampling on innocent displeasure by children. The president must apologize to the children of Kenya and those who ordered the violation brought to book” he said.
Mudavadi said there are humane ways of talking to children rather than treating them as criminals and the president must apologise to Kenyan children and assure them of protection.
“In civilized society, children are treated with kids gloves even when they offend. To call riot police and tear gas them to stop them from voicing their legitimate concern portends a dangerous turn in law enforcement,” added Mudavadi.
The children reported to school Monday morning, from long holidays followed by two weeks of teachers’ strike, to find a perimeter wall on their school compound.
The perimeter wall was brought down before the children started to play on the field. Many of the children were carrying twigs and placards condemning the grabbing.
After the wall was brought down, police chased Kibra MP Ken Okoth with other activists for a short while before giving up as the children broke in songs.
The stand-off has led to the suspension of Langata OCPD Elijah Mwangi as polife launched investigation into the controversy.