A Form Four student was shot dead in Kondele, Kisumu on Monday as hundreds of opposition supporters again took to the streets demanding reforms ahead of a presidential election.
Police tear-gassed a large crowd of protesters in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, who set tyres alight, blocked roads and pelted policemen with rocks as they kicked off daily protests just 10 days ahead of the election.
According to the boy’s mother Caroline Okello, the student said he gone to buy ice cream from a nearby vendor as protests swept through the city.
“I told him not to go out today because of the protests but he insisted on going to buy ice cream,” said the mother.
The boy was a student at Vihiga High School, but had been sent home for school fees, the mother said.
One protester, Michael Odhiambo, 21, said he had seen police gun down a young man.
“He was running to hide himself from police. A police man just pointed a gun at him and shot him from a distance. He was shot in the neck,” he said.
Kisumu police boss Titus Yoma could not confirm if the the boy died from bullet wounds or if he was shot at all, “because the body was taken to the mortuary by local residents,” he said.
On Friday by police in the town of Bondo, the rural home of opposition leader Raila Odinga some 50 kilometres from Kisumu.
“For how long will these senseless killings by police (go on)? Police cannot be shooting at protesters every other time. Is it a crime to protest?,” asked Margaret Akinyi, a vegetable vendor in Kisumu.
She said the young protester killed Monday was “felled by a bullet just next to me and we had to run, all of us. He is dead.”
In Nairobi a small crowd of protesters was swiftly dispersed.
A local human rights group said 37 people died in the immediate aftermath of the August 8 election that was later annulled by the Supreme Court which ordered a re-run.
A joint report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International released Monday said it had .
Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet said this report was “totally misleading and based on falsehoods”, adding police were only aware of 12 deaths which they were investigating.
The latest protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place on October 26.
Odinga last week announced his withdrawal from the race, arguing that this legally forces the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to begin the whole election from scratch.
He is hoping to win more time for reforms, after the Supreme Court annulled the first election for irregularities in the counting process and mismanagement by the IEBC.
But the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for the vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.
Odinga is hoping to maintain pressure from the street, increasing protests from three times a week to every day.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report bares police brutality.