April 29th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Kenya on brink of pre-election violence as police sent to opposition areas

Nyanza police boss Willy Lugusa said they were on high alert and stand ready to contain the situation should the protests begin. "Our forces have been highly mobilised to go on beat patrols. They are expected to gather more intelligence reports and update the security agencies promptly," he said.

By Phillip MuleeSaturday, 07 Jan 2017 14:46 EAT

Police officers confront a protester during recent protests by the Opposition calling for the disbandment of IEBC.

Kenya is on the edge of full blown violence following the deployment of more police officers in Opposition strongholds even before Wednesday’s Bomas meeting expected to release program of mass action. The Standard newspaper has today reported of intelligence reports that violence could erupt over the contentious amendments to the electoral laws-manual voting back up.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula yesterday said they had invited all the coalition's elected leaders: members of county assemblies, members of the National Assembly, senators, governors and women representatives as well as those aspiring for the positions to a meeting next Wednesday 11 January 2017 at the Bomas of Kenya to deliberate on the amendments.

It is expected that the meeting would set the stage for countrywide street protests. The leaders termed the amendment of electoral laws concluded by MPs and Senators now awaiting President Kenyatta’s signature to become law as a crisis and vowed the people of Kenya are determined today more than ever to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections the results of which will have to be verifiable.

The statement by CORD principals which was read by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and also signed by Cyrus Jirongo, Chairman of Kenya African Democratic Development Union (KADDU), accused Jubilee MPs and Senators of betraying Kenyans by amending a bipartisan agreed electoral laws. The leaders claimed Jubilee was desperate in its bid to create opportunities to rig the election, hence the party's resort to using nominated senators "who had no authority from the elected senators to represent their respective delegations" to cast the vote approving the amendments.

They said during all the discussions in both the National Assembly and the Senate, Parliament was put under siege by the overwhelming presence of the Police and other security agencies whose purpose was to intimidate legislators into passing the laws under duress. “One by one, Jubilee senators, disregarding irregularities and illegalities in the process, cast their ballot for the Bill whose sole aim is to make it easy for the regime to allow underage and dead voters to cast their votes in addition to stuffing the ballot boxes in the elections slated for August 2017”, the statement further stated.

And as the opposition gears for countrywide mass action, police officers will be on the look-out in Nyanza, Western, Coast, Eastern and parts of North Eastern where they will remain highly alert on possible protests. This follows the directive by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who has instructed regional police coordinators to be extra vigilant.

On Friday, Nyanza regional police coordinator Willy Lugusa confirmed that they were on high alert for any eventuality and ready to contain the situation should the protests begin. "Our forces have been highly mobilised to go on beat patrols. They are expected to gather more intelligence reports and update the security agencies promptly," the Standard quoted him as saying.

Mr Lugusa said this is to ensure the daily businesses and public errands run smoothly, adding that police will not interfere with peaceful demonstrators, as long as the demos are licensed. "We will only deal with those who will destroy public property or become a nuisance to public businesses or traffic flow in and out of towns," he said.

The opposition had called off its nationwide demos initially planned for January 4 to allow the Senate debate the amendments and possibly reject the Bill. But on Thursday, the Bill sailed through in the Senate.

---





Stay Connected