Heavy police presence in Kisumu ahead of Supreme Court judgement

There has been heavy police deployment in Kisumu Town ahead of Friday’s Supreme Court verdict on the election petition filed by National Super Alliance (Nasa) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

On Thursday evening, two water cannons and two trucks full of anti-riot police officers made their way into the town, driving through the main streets at around 8.30pm, as curious crowds yelled at them.

As they passed along Nairobi Road, locals shouted and jeered at them, perhaps remembering how the police brutally crashed protests two weeks ago when President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner.

NORMAL PRACTICE

But security officials argued it was normal practice and that they were preparing for any eventualities.

“We are not saying there will be any trouble but we are taking our contingency plans, just the way we did during and after elections,” Mr Wilson Njega, Nyanza Regional Coordinator told reporters.

“We are going to secure businesses because it is the mandate of the government to secure people and their property. [W]hoever may want to take advantage of the situation…will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“Everyone has a democratic right to demonstrate, but you must be unarmed and you must notify the police,” Mr Njega said.

SCARED

But the deployment scared people, some saying it was an anticipation of trouble.

“The government already knows what the verdict is and that is why they are bringing more police officers here in Kisumu,” said Mary Abuom, a grocer at Tumaini roundabout.

Mrs Abuom said she will not be opening her business for what she termed “clear signs” of the outcome of the petition.

On Friday morning, Kisumu streets were unusually quiet, as some people stayed away from the centre of town.

Before the elections, a similar deployment of police was done.

At the time, officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) were deployed to reinforce the contingent of police officers on the ground to help quell riots that erupted immediately IEBC declared Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as the Presidential election winner.

The action by police left six people dead including six-month-old Samantha Pendo and scores injured.

Nyong’o displays an orange T-shirt written “Luo lives matter”.

LIVE: Judges to decide Raila Odinga’s election petition

UHURU KENYATTA’S RE-ELECTION NULLIFIED