After the opposition promised to take action, Kenyans were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government protests over the increasing cost of living on Monday, even after a police ban.
Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga appealed to citizens to take to the streets every Thursday and Monday, a week after the protests had turned violent and various parts of Nairobi were paralysed.
However, on Sunday, the police announced a ban on the rallies. “We will not allow violent demonstrations,” said Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome.
“The demonstrations they plan tomorrow (Monday) are illegal and will not be allowed,” he added.
A university student was killed and 31 officers had suffered injuries in a police fire during the previous Monday’s clashes as running battles took place between demonstrators and riot police in Nairobi as well as opposition strongholds in western Kenya.
Police arrested around 200 people which included various senior opposition politicians while protesters, including their own convoy of Odinga, were hit with water cannons and tear gas.
This was the first major political unrest since incumbent President William Ruto came to power around six months ago after Odinga was defeated in an election that his rivals alleged was “stolen”.
Even after the police ban, Odinga appealed to the Kenyans on Sunday to take part in what he called “the mother of all demonstrations”.
“I want to tell Ruto and the IG Koome that we are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to fear tear gas and police,” he added. President Ruto appealed to his rival to stop the action.
“I am telling Raila Odinga that if he has a problem with me, he should face me and stop terrorising the country,” he stated on Thursday.
“Stop paralysing the businesses of mama mboga, matatu and other Kenyans,” he added, referring to private minibus operators and women stallholders.
On Monday, Ruto will be leaving for a four-day official trip to Belgium and Germany during which he will hold meetings with EU and national leaders.
Kenyans have been struggling to buy food by the end of the day as they are battling soaring prices for basic goods and declining local currency along with a record which has left millions hungry.