Kenya’s repeat presidential poll: The incidents

The start of Kenya’s repeat presidential poll was mainly smooth and peaceful but a few, isolated incidents rocked polling some stations.

Voting was disrupted in some parts of Kibra Constituency in Nairobi County as youths engaged the police in running battles.

6AM

The youths, believed to be allied to the National Super Alliance (Nasa), started by barricading roads leading to polling centres as early as 6am.

At AIC Kibera church, an epicentre of chaos in the constituency, police officers were busy clearing the road that had been blocked using electricity polls and logs.

voteprotestluckys Kenya's repeat presidential poll: The incidents

Tyres burning about 200 meters from Lucky Summer polling station in Nairobi. The police have dispersed a group of protesters, who wanted to disrupt voting. PHOTO | ABIUD OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

No one was allowed to pass through the area unless they identified themselves.

At Olympic Primary School polling centre, it was a cat and mouse game between the protesting youths and the police trying to restore normalcy.

The gate to the school was barricaded using blocks and locked with a chain to prevent voting materials from reaching the centre.

voteprotest1 Kenya's repeat presidential poll: The incidents

Police at Olympic Primary School polling centre in Kibra, Nairobi where a chain had been used to lock the gate. Police have opened the gate. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police officers removed the barricades and chains and took control of the centre, but the youths kept advancing and, at one time, overpowered the police who had run out of teargas.

The youths, who were hurling stones and bottles, shuttered most of the windows at Olympic Primary School and threatened to overrun the police who had to call for reinforcement.

The same impasse was witnessed at Old Kibera Primary School polling centre and Raila Education Centre where voting materials arrived but no voting was taking place.

The youths vowed to block any attempt to vote in the area and they chanted and hurled obscenities, with others daring the police to shoot.

TEARGAS

At one time, police officers fired a live bullet in the air to disperse rowdy youths as they had run out of tear gas.

The protesters retreated, giving police a chance to regroup and get more teargas canisters.

Calm was slowly returning by mid morning.

The streets were deserted save for journalists, the police and a few residents.

All businesses in the area were closed. 

In Mombasa, protesters temporarily stopped voting at Bangladesh in Jomvu Constituency, Mombasa.

ATTACK

The slum residents smeared the station with faeces, warning that anyone who will conduct the poll would face their wrath.

Police officers were deployed as locals, who sang “No elections,” barricaded the road leading to the polling station.

voteprotest Kenya's repeat presidential poll: The incidents

Bangladesh residents block road to a polling station in the area to prevent voters from accessing it on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | WINNIE ATIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Separately, a man is fighting for his life at the Likoni District Hospital, Mombasa County after he was seriously injured by a machete-wielding gang.

The unidentified middle aged man suffered deep cuts on the head in the attack that happened around 6am at Soko Mjinga in Mtongwe.

The incident happened few metres from a polling station at Soko Mjinga stage.

voterProtest2 Kenya's repeat presidential poll: The incidents

Police remove stones used to block the gate at Olympic Primary School polling centre in Kibra, Nairobi. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Area police boss Benjamin Rotich said investigations have been launched to establish whether the man was headed to the polling station.

SECURITY

“We cannot ascertain whether the man was going to vote or not. But investigations are underway to establish who the attackers were,” said Mr Rotich

Voterprotestsling Kenya's repeat presidential poll: The incidents

A man preparing a sling near Olympic Primary School polling station as police engage protesters in running battles on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | COLLINS OMULO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The attack comes just a day after security agents in the county assured voters in the region of maximum security.

On Wednesday, Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa and Regional Police Commandant Larry Kieng said enough security measures had been put in place to ensure voting goes smoothly.

Their assurance came after five people suspected to be members of a gang terrorising residents in Likoni were arrested.

Reported by Mohamed Ahmed, Winnie Atieno and Collins Omulo.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has boycotted the poll and urged his supporters to stay at home.

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