Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet has warned National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters that they will be met with severe force if they try to attack police stations while demonstrating.
However, Mr Boinnet’s claim has been dismissed as “lies” by Nasa MPs John Mbadi (Suba South) and Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), who accused the police of using every excuse in the book to “brutally murder innocent protestors exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully.”
In a statement through Police Spokesman George Kinoti, Mr Boinnet said attacks on police and police station would not be tolerated.
“Such attacks will be deemed, among other violations of the law, as an attempt to steal firearms, and will elicit the appropriate response,” Mr Boinnet said.
But the Nasa legislators, accusing the police of “exhibiting trigger happy tendencies”, said the “purported” warning by the Mr Boinnet is a desperate move to justify the “brutal killings of unarmed civilians” fighting for their rights.
“What has a 73-year-old grandmother got to do with the purported attacks on police stations?” Mr Wandayi asked in relation to the woman short by the police as she left hospital in Migori.
Nasa has called for countrywide demos to push for reforms in the electoral commission as well as force the removal from office of IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba among other senior managers.
From next week, the demos will be on a daily basis, according to Nasa.
“We condemn the violent disruptions of peaceful demonstrations by the police that have resulted in deaths and injuries. We hold Interior CS Fred Matiang’i squarely responsible for this. He, together with his sponsors, shall be personally held to account,” Mr Wandayi said.
The Ugunja MP termed the demos a success, which he said was a show of people’s determination to confront impunity head-on.
Mr Mbadi said they will not be intimidated by police threats.
“Those responsible like Matiang’i should never be allowed to get away with these senseless killings. Killing people who are expressing their rights in a peaceful manner is criminal, uncalled for and must be condemned by those who love humanity. Does Matiang’i now feel happy because lives have been lost?” he said.
Nasa on Friday defied a government ban imposed by Mr Matiang’i and took their demos to the city centres of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
But according to police, Nasa politicians’ attempts to reach Nairobi CBD were defeated.
In Kisumu, police said unrest was confined to Kondele, Nyalenda and Manyatta areas.
Mr Boinnet said demonstrators in Kisumu vandalised property and extorted money from motorists besides engaging the police in running battles.
The situation was later “normalised”, according to police, although locals disputed the police version, accusing them of being trigger-happy.
In Bondo Township, two people were killed near a police station.
Locals and witnesses on Friday told the Nation that the two were felled as they ran towards Bondo Police Station after police fired bullets to disperse protesters.
But according Mr Boinnet, police opened fire after a large mob of “about 2,000 people” pelted the station with rocks and “robbed nearby shops and valuables”.
In the ensuing confrontation with the police, Mr Boinnet said, the two persons were killed.
The police chief said “the actual circumstances of the shooting are being investigated.”
In Mombasa, police said about 150 people “attempted to march in the CBD but were dispersed” by the police.
Other demonstrations happened in Migori, Homa Bay and Kakamega, “which commenced and ended without any serious confrontations”, according to Mr Boinnet.
75-year-old granny suffers bullet injuries as she leaves hospital.