Relative calm returns to parts of the country hit by poll violence

Relative calm has returned to parts of the country hit by violent protests following the Thursday presidential election rerun.

In Migori, normality has returned after three days of chaos, even as Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo condemned the brutality meted on residents of Majengo town during protests on Saturday.

Shops and hotels opened in Migori town on Saturday, with matatus and buses back on the road. 

However, hospitals ran short of blood due to the large number of gunshot wound victims.

The Red Cross Society set up a blood donation tent at Migori Posta grounds.

OKOTH OBADO

Migori Governor Okoth Obado was among the first to donate blood and said residents will not agree to be forced to take part in the election.

“We will not cast our ballots in an election in which even the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission leadership does not know the turnout in Jubilee strongholds,” the county boss told reporters. 

Mr Obado said the confusion at the national tallying centre in Nairobi “has vindicated (National Super Alliance leader) Raila Odinga who said the election was pre-rigged”.

“Even managing an election for one candidate is a nightmare for the commission. The fact that most Kenyans did not vote is a strong statement of democracy,” he said.

Earlier, the governor visited poll chaos victims in various hospitals.

RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT

“The brutality displayed in Nyanza is cowardly and will only strengthen the resolve to pursue our rights,” he said.

In Majengo, demos began on Saturday following reports that a trader had been found with marked ballot papers and forms 34A.

Demonstrators also protested the reported announcement by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati that President Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 18,000 votes in Vihiga County when the official figures from the five returning officers showed that Mr Kenyatta obtained 9,847 votes.

The protests saw Central Maragoli  Ward Representative Evans Chunguli and another resident sustain serious injuries.

Mr Chunguli, who was detained at Vihiga Police Station for hours, had deep cuts on his legs, hands and shoulders. The other man had a bullet lodged in his leg.

POLICE DEPLOYMENT

The two are being treated at Mukumu Hospital, Kakamega.

There is heavy deployment of police at the mission hospital.

Addressing journalists at the hospital, Dr Ottichilo who was accompanied by Vihiga MP Ernest Ogesi, said he had been informed that the officers “who beat up our people are from Laikipia”.

The county boss called for speedy declaration of the results of the election to help end anxiety across the country.

“We want to tell Chebukati to declare the winner, based on the results he has. Vihiga residents did not take part in the election. Why are our people being brutalised?”

BEAT UP POLICE

“We did not participate in the election because it was not credible.”

Mr Ogesi said the government had resorted to brutalising its citizens.

“We spent more than seven hours at the police station asking for the two to be released to get treatment,” said Mr Ogesi.

Earlier, the same officers beat up and injured three policemen, among them Vihiga Deputy OCS Henry Recha. They had been mistaken for protesters.

Vihiga County Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Emmanuel Ayodi said the three were treated and discharged.

BUSINESS RESUMED

At the same time, business has resumed in Nakuru, Nyandarua and Laikipia counties.

Nakuru town was a beehive of activity on Saturday as residents reported back to work while others opened their shops.

In Naivasha, Mr Mwangi Kabicho, who runs a confectionary business, said he was happy with the way the election was conducted. “The election is over and this is an opportunity to make up for lost time,” he said. 

“Business was low but I am happy the country will be peaceful.”

Cybercafé operator Daniel Kinuthia said he only closed business on Thursday and Friday.

MIDDLE GROUND

He urged political protagonists to find a middle ground for the sake of peace and the country.

“We are in a delicate situation and my prayer to our leaders is to allow the country to move forward,” said Mr Kinuthia.

In Njoro, many residents trooped to entertainment joints to follow election poll results streamed on TV as they waited for IEBC to announce the winner.

Mr James Koech, a butchery owner, said the country had entrusted IEBC with the mandate to declare the poll outcome.

“We did our part. What is left is in the hands of IEBC. Kenyans, however, must maintain peace,” he said.

MOLO

In Molo town, shops and other businesses opened as early as seven on Saturday and Sunday.

The town’s main market began filling up as early as 6am while the PSV terminus was filled with matatus.

Mr Simon Momanyi, a boda boda, said he worked even during the election day “since I need to feed my family”.

“I voted and went back to work. Voting is a short affair but life must go on,” he said.

NO VIOLENCE

Molo OCPD David Kamanza said no violence or electoral malpractices had been reported on election day and urged residents to maintain peace.

“Everything is running smoothly in Molo,” said Mr Kamanza. 

In Nyahururu, ordinary activities resumed on Saturday, with traders flooding the municipal market that had been closed on Thursday. 

“We have resumed work as we wait for the results of the election to be announced. We hope the electoral commission will not take long to announce the outcome,” said Ms Mary Wambui, a vendor at the market.

Reported by Derick Luvega, Elisha Otieno, Eric   Matara, Macharia Mwangi, Reitz Mureithi and Steve Njuguna

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