Violent protests mark Nasa’s quest for reforms

One person died Monday as Nasa supporters took to the streets to push for reforms in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission before the October 26 repeat poll.

The demonstrations, which were violent in some towns, took place in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Busia, and Vihiga counties.

In Rift Valley and central Kenya counties, which are bedrocks of Jubilee Party, it was business as usual, with transport uninterrupted.

In Embu, Jubilee supporters disrupted the protests.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula did not join the protesters on grounds that their security was not assured.

Last week, the government withdrew police guards for Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi.

In Siaya, Mr Martin Owidhi, 41, died after he was caught up in the melee, with local leaders accusing the police of using excessive force to thwart the protests.

Siaya County police boss Sarah Duncan confirmed the death but exonerated the police.

She said Mr Owidhi had just left Siaya County Referral Hospital where he had gone to collect medicine when he was caught up in the melee.

He died from shock after police fired tear gas to disperse protesting youth outside the IEBC offices.

Ms Celestine Achieng’, a witness, said: “We were passing by the county commissioner’s office moments before the confrontation and we decided to flee the crowd only for him to collapse and die after police lobbed tear gas.”

Residents and leaders, among them Governor Cornel Rasanga, MPs Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Dr Christine Ombaka (woman representative), Speaker George Okode and a host of MCAs, blamed police for the death.

In Kisumu, the demos started in Kondele as early as 8.30am with police engaging the protesters in running battles.

Transport was paralysed as main highways were blocked.

The youth had planned to converge at the Kondele Flyover alongside their leaders and march towards town and later IEBC offices next to the State House.

Protesters were however dispersed before they could present their petition to the IEBC offices.

Businesses remained closed and roads impassable for the better part of the morning.

Earlier, police were forced to flee from a hail of stones thrown at them at Kibuye market.

Trouble started when the police blocked the demonstrators who wanted to converge at the Kondele Flyover.

Local leaders, among them Senator Fred Outa, accused police of using excessive force.

“The county police commander should know that we do not need to write another letter, they had been notified by our principals in Nairobi. We will be in the streets on Friday again to fight for reforms,” he said.

In Nairobi, Nasa MPs and supporters faced rival demonstrators.

The pro-Jubilee group, calling itself Nairobi Business Community, was also repulsed by police.

While the Jubilee group stuck to the Moi Avenue side of town doing rounds around Jeevanjee Gardens, Nasa supporters were on Uhuru Highway.

Police were forced to lob tear-gas canisters in the morning to disperse the crowd on Moi Avenue.

In the afternoon, they were engaged with the Nasa demonstrators who had congregated on Kenyatta Avenue.


The Nasa group demanded IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba’s removal while the Jubilee group demanded respect for President Uhuru Kenyatta and insisted they were only protecting their businesses from being ruined by those protesting.

“As Nasa, we will be forced to go back to the drawing board to plan how to counter the police plans,” Suba South MP John Mbadi, who led demonstrations in the city centre, said.

Mr Mbadi, who accused police of using undue force, was in a group of MPs among them Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay woman representative) and her Nairobi colleague Esther Passaris.

In Mombasa, transport was disrupted in the town centre.

Motorists on Moi, Digo and Nkrumah roads were delayed as the group snaked through the streets before converging outside the governor’s office.

But, the demo remained peaceful as anti-riot police in full gear watched from a distance.

“We must have a person of integrity heading the electoral agency. Not someone who can be easily compromised by their known bosses,” Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki said.

More than 40 anti-riot police officers had been deployed at the entrance of the IEBC offices but that did not deter the leaders from presenting their written petition to the polls agency.

In Kakamega, former Senator Boni Khalwale, who led the protests in the town, was caught up in the melee.

Business was disrupted in Kakamega as police engaged a group of protesters in running battles while in Vihiga, the demos ended prematurely after police dispersed protesters for “failing to notify them on time”.

Although Kakamega County police commander Tito Kilonzi had outlawed the demonstrations, Dr Khalwale showed up with a group of demonstrators on Sudi Road, forcing police officers to use tear gas to disperse them.

Police blocked Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala from leaving his home at Milimani estate.

In Homa Bay, police battled the protesters who had barricaded roads in the town.

Homa Bay police boss Essau Ochorokodi had earlier pleaded with the youth to stop the demonstrations at Bunge La Wananchi in Posta Grounds.

In Migori and Busia, transport was paralysed, frustrating journeys to the neighbouring Tanzania.

Traders in Migori hurriedly closed their shops for fear of looting as police engaged the protesters.

Busia deputy governor Moses Mulomi and Nambale MP John Bunyasi led the demos and accused the police of using tear gas on the “peaceful protesters”.

Reported by Nelcon Odhiambo, Rushdie Oudia, Brian Moseti, David Mwere, Mohamed Ahmed, Benson Amadala, Barrack Oduor, Shabban Makokha, Derrick Luvega, Elisha Otieno, Gaitano Pessa and Nyaboga Kiage

Police clash with protesters in Kondele slums, Kisumu

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