What it takes to enter State House as a protected area
As Kenyans gear up for the Monday protests led by the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya brigade, there has been speculation about whether the protests will lead to the State House.
During rallies, several leaders have called on Azimio coalition leader Raila Odinga to make the announcement that will lead Kenyans to the house on the hill.
However, Raila stated that only a small number of people will deliver their grievances to President William Ruto at State House adding that the premises were a public property.
“We shall send some people to give Ruto our message. State House is a public place, and if they allow our delegates to enter, so be it. If they don’t, they will leave the message at the door,” he stated.
“State House is a public property, the coalition will select a delegation of people who will represent the coalition at State House,” he added.
The question is, how easy or difficult is it to gain access to the premises that serve as Kenya’s official residence for the president?
According to Kenya’s Protected Areas Act, State House Kenya is a protected area. This means that extra precautions are taken to prevent unauthorized entry while also maintaining public safety and order.
The Act empowers the Interior Cabinet Secretary to declare any area as a protected area by publishing an order in the Gazette. Once an order is in force, no person can enter or be in the protected area without permission from the prescribed authority or any other person specified in the order. The order may also exempt certain persons or categories of persons from this restriction.
Any person who is granted permission to enter a protected area must comply with the directions given by the authority or person granting permission. The Act also allows any police officer or authorized person to search any person or item found in or entering/leaving the protected area, and detain them for that purpose. If any item is found containing arms, ammunition, explosives, or stores unlawfully or without permission, it will be forfeited, and its contents will abide by the directions of the CS.
If a person is found in a protected area in contravention of the Act or fails to comply with any direction given, they may be removed from the area by any police officer or authorized person. Any person who fails to stop after being challenged twice may be arrested.
The fenced protected area and warning notices are meant to prevent inadvertent or accidental entry into the protected area during dark hours.
The prescribed authority must take necessary precautions and no person can claim compensation or damages for injury received or death caused as a result of unauthorized entry into the protected area.
State House Kenya was built during the colonial era as the official residence of the governor of British East Africa. It has had a colorful history since then, serving as the prime minister’s residence from independence until 1964 when Kenya became a republic. Since then, it has been the official residence of every president of Kenya.
Penalties are imposed on anyone who violates the provisions of the Act.
Any person found in a protected area without permission or fails to comply with any order shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding KES 10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.