Under the political microscope : The right to peaceful assembly
Katee, Sally Mueni
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Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right that can be enjoyed and exercised by individuals and groups, unregistered associations, legal entities and corporate bodies. This right allows individuals to publicly convey their positions and opinions without fear of threat, harassment, intimidation, reprisal or arrest. The state has an underlying obligation to put in place adequate mechanisms and procedures that ensure the freedom of peaceful assembly is practically enjoyed and not subject to undue bureaucratic regulation. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is often exercised by way of protests, strikes, sit-ins, pickets, petitions, processions and demonstrations. Peaceful assemblies serve many purposes, including the expression of diverse, unpopular, minority opinions and sometimes they may be used to serve a political agenda. Unfortunately, most of the political assemblies that have been held in Kenya result in outbreaks of violence. In the wake of these events, numerous lives are lost and a lot of property is destroyed. The constant abuse of power by regulatory authorities has also been a serious bone of contention when addressing the nature of political assemblies in Kenya. This research seeks to establish the nature of political assemblies in Kenya and the proportionality of legal restrictions imposed by the regulatory authorities and the law.