At least four people were injured and six arrested as National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters in various towns took to the streets to push for reforms at the electoral commission, including the resignation of chief executive Ezra Chiloba, before the October 26 presidential repeat poll is held.
There were protests in Nairobi, Mombasa, Machakos, Makueni, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Vihiga, Taita-Taveta, Lamu and Busia, on a day of heightened political temperatures in the country.
In Nairobi, four people sustained injuries as Nasa supporters started their protests at Central Park Nairobi.
A witness, Mr Willis Otieno, said trouble started when one of the demonstrators allegedly grabbed a phone from a motorist, reported to be a police officer in plain clothes, on Uhuru Highway.
The officer, according to Mr Otieno, came out of the vehicle with a gun and shot the man on the right leg.
The shooting angered Nasa supporters who started hurling stones at the vehicle.
The driver sped off, injuring three people on the way.
“They want to kill us,” the protesters chanted.
Singing anti-IEBC songs and chanting ‘Chiloba must go’, the protesters were peaceful but police were on standby to maintain law and order.
They were led by senators James Orengo (Siaya) and George Khaniri (Vihiga), woman reps Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Esther Passaris (Nairobi), ODM chairman John Mbadi and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama
“We will only participate in an election where we know the outcome will be free and fair,” Mr Orengo said.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta should know that we are ready to face him any day, but we will not do that when Chiloba is still in office,” he added.
The protesters managed to get to Anniversary Towers, the IEBC headquarters, that was cordoned off by officers in anti-riot gear.
The police allowed the crowd to march on peacefully back to Uhuru Park without throwing tear gas at them.
In Mombasa, Deputy Governor William Kingi and MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) and Mishi Mboko (Likoni) led the protests.
Dr Kingi said Nasa will not relent until IEBC was reformed.
“We are ready to go back to elections if reforms take place at IEBC.
“We will not get tired of going to the streets until our demands are met. No retreat, No surrender!” he said.
Mr Nassir said the demonstrations will go on peacefully on the set days.
“We are agents of peace. We will hold our demonstrations peacefully until the reforms we are demanding at IEBC are made,” he said.
Ms Mboko castigated Jubilee Party supporters for allegedly interfering with their demonstration.
“We shall not let our opponents interfere with our demos. We are not going to retreat,” she said.
In Machakos, County Woman Rep Joyce Kamene, former East African Legislative Assembly MP Peter Mathuki and MCAs led the protests.
Police threw tear gas at protesters as they assembled at the Mulu Mutisya Gardens to start the demo.
Six protesters, four men and two women, were arrested and taken to court. They were released on Sh2,000 bond each.
In Makueni, MPs Joshua Kimilu (Kaiti) and Thaddeus Nzambia (Kilome) led the inaugural protests on the streets of Makindu.
They lit bonfires on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
Police used tear gas to disperse them, extinguished the bonfires and opened up the road.
In Taita-Taveta, more than 200 demonstrators converged at a petrol station on the turn-off to Voi town on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and marched peacefully to the Scripture Mission Centre, the Voi constituency tallying centre, where they were addressed by Voi MP Jones Mlolwa.
Mr Mlolwa said Nasa is not ready to participate in the repeat election without reforms at the electoral agency.
The crowd marched back to Voi town where the leaders addressed them briefly before they dispersed peacefully.
County police commander Fred Ochieng’ said the demonstration was peaceful.
In Lamu, Ms Shakila Abdalla led hundreds of protesters at the Milano area in Lamu town where they prayed before marching to the IEBC offices.
They carried placards and posters and chanted ‘Chiloba Must Go!’
They marched to Mkunguni Square where they were addressed by their leaders.
Addressing the protesters, Ms Abdalla vowed to ensure Lamu remains loyal to the opposition.
In Kitale, a lone protester, Mr Josphat Barasa, who is blind, took to the streets carrying twigs while chanting “No reforms, No Election”.
The solo act took residents by surprise as they could not believe Mr Barasa who uses a cane to move around could outdo other opposition supporters.
The 32-year-old father of two girls said he decided to demonstrate as it is his constitutional right.
“I am here to ensure there are political reforms in the country, including at IEBC. It is not a must to have a crowd and I prefer it this way because I am not destroying anyone’s property nor causing a disturbance,” he said.
In Narok, protests failed to take off because of a low turnout.
Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta and Senator Ledama ole Kina said the protests were called off until election of opposition branch officials was conducted.
In Nyanza, the protests that begun peacefully later turned chaotic after police threw tear gas at the demonstrators.
In Kisumu, hundreds poured onto the streets to demand resignation of key IEBC officials accused of “messing up” the August elections.
Police stopped the demonstration using tear gas against the protesters and journalists.
Some journalists were injured during the chaos.
Woman Rep Rosa Buyu, Seme MP James Nyikal, Onyango K’Oyoo (Muhoroni) and Aduma Owuor of Nyakach led MCAs and Nasa supporters in a march to the IEBC offices.
The supporters chanted songs, carried placards, honked cars and yelled as the anti-riot police initially looked on.
Shopkeepers seemed to have learnt their lessons following the looting of Tumaini Supermarket last week. They closed early.
Kisumu business people who have been left counting huge losses urged Nasa leader Raila Odinga and Jubilee’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to engage in urgent dialogue for the sake of the country’s economy.
Kisumu Central Business District secretary-general Jackson Ogweno appealed for peaceful demonstrations and non-destruction of public and private property.
“As a business community, we condemn the looting of property, which a few people have resorted to,” he said.
In Vihiga, MPs Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) and Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga) led the demos.
They asked voters not to take part in the October 26 poll if reforms demanded by Nasa are not effected.
In Siaya, the demonstrations ended abruptly after the police deployed tear gas at the crowd carrying twigs and placards.
The protesters, led by MP Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) and Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe were forced to flee after police broke up a rally they had convened outside the county commissioner’s office.
In Homa Bay, businesses were shut as protesters blocked roads, lit fires and marched on the streets.
In Migori, police were unusually restrained even as some protesters threw stones at them in a bid to provoke them.
“We are under instructions not to interfere with the Nasa supporters but if they continue throwing stones at us, we will repulse them,” one of the officers guarding the Posta grounds said.
Most shops and offices, however, remained shut for fear of looting.
Protests were largely muted in the western counties of Kakamega and Busia, which had seen huge protests last week.
Reports by Samwel Owino, Diana mutheu, Stephen Muthini, Pius Maundu, Brian Ocharo, Kalume Kazungu, Gerald Bwisa, George Sayagie, Rushdie Oudia, Derick Luvega, Benson Amadala, Barack Oduor, Nelcon Odhiambo, Elisha Otieno and Gaitano Pessa.
He assured his supporters that the march to power was still on.