November 23rd 2017

Top Stories / National

Kenyan opposition protests grow bigger, group combats govt supporters in Nairobi

"The victim was with his friend when the officers fired in the air. As he lay on the ground, one of the officers fired at close range," said an eyewitness named Gor. The wounded man was admitted at St Paul's Hospital where doctored removed a bullet lodged in his leg.

By Phillip MuleeFriday, 06 Oct 2017 19:49 EAT

NASA supporters are confronted by anti-riot police officers in Nairobi today.

NASA supporters today poured in the streets of different urban centres countrywide to demonstrate against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba and other officials implicated in the bungling of the August 8 presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court.

While the longevity of the political crisis was expected to wear down opposition supporters ahead of the election, it seems to be having the opposite effect. In Monday's protests, opposition supporters marched in the streets of Kitui, Kajiado, Kisii, Machakos, Nyamira, Embu, Meru, Kitale and Kwale towns.

Most of these regions were quiet today, in part because the police did not approve permits for the use of roads, but protests were staged in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kakamega, Busia, Homa Bay, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Samburu counties, and in some cases angry NASA supporters engaged the police in running battles as they pushed their way to IEBC offices. Police dispersed those who become unruly in Nairobi but used lethal force in Homa Bay.

An Administration Police officer aimed his rifle at a boda boda rider during the protests in Homa Bay Town, wounding the man seriously. Emmanuel Konduto was struck twice on the left thigh and buttocks at Sofia Estate within the town when he and a friend were ambushed by officers removing stones from Homa Bay-Rongo road, according to eye witnesses.

"The victim was with his friend when the officers fired in the air. As he lay on the ground, one of the officers fired at close range," said an eyewitness named Gor. The wounded man was admitted at St Paul's Hospital where doctored removed a bullet lodged in his leg.

Despite this incident being well covered by media, county police commander Marius Tum Konduto claimed the officer had fired rubber bullets. "Yes, one person has actually been shot. But I asked my officers not to confront the protesters using live bullets," said the police boss.

During the demonstrations in Nairobi, supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta (suspected Mungiki members) clashed with NASA protesters but were dispersed by police. Siaya Senator James Orengo, former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and Kisumu Women Representative Rosa Buya were among the top NASA leaders who led the demonstrations in Nairobi.

In Mombasa, NASA supporters marched in the streets in peaceful protests. Governor Hassan Joho did not take part in NASA's protests against IEBC today and once again was represented by his Deputy Governor William Kingi who also stood in for him the last two times.

Some residents demanded that Joho should personally lead the protests that Mvita MP Abdulawamad Nassir, Jomvu's Badi Twalib and woman representative Aisha Mohammed have turned up for. "If Joho will not be here Monday, we will not take part," one said.

Taita Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma and MPs Jones Mlolwa and Anisa Mwakio as well as the local ODM chairman John Maghanga led hundreds of protesters in a march through Voi Town's streets before converging at the local IEBC office where they presented a demand for Chiloba to leave the commission.


Part of the crowd that marched in Voi Town.

In Kakamega, NASA supporters held peaceful demonstrations and marched through the town. Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said Kenya should introduce the federal system of government "to cure deep-rooted tribalism and election fraud"

In his address to demonstrators before the procession, Oparanya said this is the only way to make sure Kenyans govern themselves and that their votes count. "Given what is going on in Kenya we need majimbos so our votes count and leaders are not imposed on us."

Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala, woman representative Elsie Muhanda and Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala were among leaders who took part in the march. Oparanya joined the procession after demonstrators camped at the gate to his office demanding his presence.

In Maralal, Samburu County, protests cut the protests short due to the lack of permits. Samburu Central OCPD Abaggarro Guyo met the protesters outside Maridadi Hotel where they gathered at about 10am and ordered them to leave, saying police were not notified. But a section of the crowd was reluctant and accused Jubilee Party politicians of working with police to frustrate the protests.

Today's protests were larger than previous ones in all the towns where they took place. In Busia, for example, the police were forced to use tear-gas after the demonstrators became increasingly combative.

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