June 24, 2024
Protesters To Pay For Damages In The New Proposed Bill

Protesters To Pay For Damages In The New Proposed Bill

If the Assembly and Demonstration Bill 2024 is signed into law, protest organizers and individual demonstrators may face financial accountability for property harmed while picketing.

The measure intends to regulate the behavior of demonstrators, requiring them to limit their activities to venting their grievances and not damaging other people’s property while making their point.

In the past, some demonstrations have gotten out of control, leaving traders counting losses due to looting or rogue demonstrators going on an unjustifiable spree.

“Where during the carrying on of an assembly or demonstration, damage to property occurs as a result of the assembly or demonstration, every organisation and every person participating in such assembly or demonstration shall, be jointly and severally liable for such damage,” reads a provision of the bill.

Furthermore, the measure wants to have demonstrators barred from carrying banners, placards, singing, or making comments that in any way could encourage hatred toward other organizations or persons on the basis of differences in culture, race, sex, language or religion.

Protesters will also be expected to have their faces clearly visible, without any disguise, mask, or clothing that could hinder law enforcement authorities from recognizing them.

Protesters To Pay For Damages In The New Proposed Bill
Kenya Police at a past protest

Protesters will also be prohibited from wearing any clothing that matches the uniforms worn by security services such as the police and Kenya Defence Services (KDF).

The bill also seeks to prohibit the ownership of any offensive weapon during protests.

Organizations and individuals wishing to hold such meetings and demonstrations will be required to obtain written permits from the police.

The organizer of an assembly or demonstration will also be compelled to have marshals and, in some cases, the police present at such an assembly or demonstration to ensure the maintenance of peace and order.

The measure also proposes that police officials above the rank of Inspector have the authority to stop or prevent the aforementioned demonstrations from taking place.  

Furthermore, the legislation states that anyone who participates in or organizes an unlawful assembly demonstration commits an offense under Chapter IX of the Penal Code and faces a one-year prison sentence.

Protesters To Pay For Damages In The New Proposed Bill

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