Death, injuries and arrests as Cord demos against IEBC turn violent
Two people have been confirmed dead, one in Kisumu and another in Siaya, as the weekly protest by Cord against IEBC commissioners turned violent.
The death toll could increase as another motionless body is still lying on an open road in Siaya County while five people are fighting for their lives at Siaya County referral hospital with serious injuries.
Some other five protesters are also being treated of minor injuries sustained from gunshots.
Doctors who attended to the deceased man in Kisumu clarified that he did not die of gunshot wounds.
According to Dr Sam Oula, the injuries might have been caused as a result of falling down and being walked over as the protesters ran for safety.
Tension is high in the Lakeside town as police engage demonstrators in running battles.
Tension is also high in Kakamega town as locals engage police in running battles demanding for the release of their Senator, Dr Boni Khalwale who was arrested in the morning.
Chaos broke out in Kakamega town when two groups — one in support of the demos and the other against the demos— leading to his arrest as he confronted police officers.
In Mombasa, the demos took another turn when County Assembly Speaker Thaddeus Rajwayi and 11 others were arrested. OCPD Lucas Ogara confirmed the arrests.
Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula has condemned security agencies for using ‘excessive force’ while dealing with demonstrators across the country.
Mr Wetang’ula also demanded for the release of Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale terming the arrest as unfortunate.
According to him, the constitution allows picketing and Kakamega Police were duly notified.
He said Cord will continue with the demonstrations until IEBC commissioners leave office.
“We wish to assure all and sundry that Cord will push for electoral reforms and no amount of intimidation nor will teargas kill our resolve… IEBC must be reformed to represent and capture best practices and we cannot allow a few commissioners to poison the river of democracy and suffocate Wanjiku’s interests,” he said in Nairobi.
Heavily armed police officers have cordoned off IEBC offices across the country as Cord supporters pour into the streets to push for reforms of the electoral body.
Police officers in Mombasa dispersed Opposition supporters who had converged at Uhuru Gardens waiting for ODM deputy leader Hassan Joho to lead them in storming IEBC offices.
Armed regular, Administration Police and Prison security officers cordoned off the IEBC offices.
Armed police officers on stand-by at Uhuru Garden, Mombasa on May 23, 2016 ready to repulse Cord supporters in anti-IEBC demos. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
KISUMU AND KAKAMEGA
Elsewhere, Senator Boni Khalwale and a group of Cord supporters were holed up in a meeting at hotel in Kakamega Town as they prepared to join their colleagues in the countrywide protests.
Dr Khalwale has accused the police and unnamed government officials of funding a group of youths to disrupt their demos.
However, Kakamega County Commissioner, Kang’ethe Thuku warned the demonstrators not to go to the IEBC offices as they would face police action.
In Kisumu, Cord supporters vowed not to relent in the fight to kick out the commission’s officials.
Kisumu County ODM Chairman Ayiecho Olweny said they would fight to the bitter end and dared police to be ready with teargas.
“It is going to be bad, we are waiting for those policemen who have been sent by the national government to kill our people. Issack Hassan must go,” said Mr Ayiecho.
“IEBC must go. We don’t want Hassan and his team,” Cord supporters chanted as they marched along Nairobi Road heading to the IEBC offices.
Police officers on standby outside IEBC head offices at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi on May 23, 2016. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Police officers sealed off IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi, as Opposition demonstrators started turning up one by one.
Earlier, Cord leaders on Sunday said they would change strategy by fronting women in the demos.
This was arrived at following last week’s brutal police attack on demonstrators with batons and live bullets injuring many.
The Cord leaders also warned of plans by unnamed Jubilee leaders to sponsor goons to infiltrate the demos and cause chaos.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett, however, said the law required that police must be notified of any planned protest however peaceful it will be.
Mr Boinnet said that Cord leaders had not notified the police about their protests and thus, the government would not allow them to protest.
Cord supporters in Meru town during anti-IEBC protests on May 23, 2016. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Police were Monday morning deployed at the Donholm roundabout in Nairobi as the government put in place measures to contain the situation in the City.
Supporters of the Opposition from Meru County were not left out in the demos as they protested in Meru town led by businessman Mike Mutembei and ODM members.
The protestors were being followed by anti-riot police as they marched in the town.
Reported by Benson Amadala, Tonny Omondi, Angira Zadock, David Muchui, Stella Cherono, Jeremiah Kiplagat, and Njeri Rugene (Daily Nation)