Opposition supporters on Monday clashed with police officers as they heed their leaders’ call to storm IEBC offices countrywide to force the electoral body’s commissioners out of office.
In Kisii town, police fired several times in the air and engaged the demonstrators in running battles.
The officers' action came barely minutes after Kisii County Governor James Ongwae and Senator Chris Obure had addressed the demonstrators at the county government headquarters.
"The commission cannot be trusted to oversee a free and fair election in the country. We therefore demand that it is disbanded and replaced by a new body," said senator Obure.
Governor Ongwae said that the drive to disband the commission was not an opposition issue but a public one.
NO GOING BACK
"It is time for the government to listen to the voice of the people. We wish to live in peace, but at the same time we must have a commission that represents the wishes and aspirations of the majority of Kenyans," he said.
The demos, which started from Kisii Hotel, turned chaotic when the protestors attempted to force their way into the IEBC offices.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Youth Leader Mr Eric Janganya who was one of the demo's leaders said that the party would not relent until the commission is disbanded.
"We will be back next Monday and every other Monday until the commission us disbanded," he said.
Security officers led by County Commander of Administration Police Mr Mohammed Kutsola and Officer Commanding Police Division Francis Kithinji fired several rounds in the air to disperse the protestors.
They engaged the protesting Cord supporters in running battles that raged from the entrance to IEBC offices to Gusii Stadium.
Another group that was dispersed also regrouped at the Daraja Moja Bridge but was quickly dispersed by the police.
However, nor arrests were made.
ACTIVIST, MCAs INJURED
In Kisumu, two MCAs, an activist and an ODM official are nursing serious injuries after they were allegedly beaten by anti-riot police during the anti-IEBC demos.
Ms Nereah Okombo (Manyatta B) and nominated member Pamela Odhiambo were rushed to hospital following injuries sustained during the protest
Unknown number of people were also injured during the
protest against the IEBC.
The riot which entered its third week, attracted a bigger
crowd which split itself in three groups, a change of tact from the previous
ones creating a challenge to the authorities.
Ms Okombo sustained head injuries after she was hit by a
teargas canister while Ms Odhiambo was roughed up by officers from the Quick
Response Team (QRT) wing of the Administration Police.
Ms Odhiambo was standing few meters from the IEBC Nyanza
regional office washing her face after she was overwhelmed by tear gas before
she was attacked by the police.
Her attempt to raise her hands in the air to show she had
surrendered and was not armed fell on deaf ears as one officer hit her
severally with a baton amidst shouts and screams from other rioters.
Ms Okombo was rushed to Kisumu’s Aga Khan Hospital where by
noon, she was still being stitched on the head.
The activist, Mr George Obala was cornered with three others
and also beaten before being chased away from the scene.
He was later rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and
Referral Hospital while Kisumu Central ODM Treasurer Edward Ogolla was also
taken to Aga Khan Hospital for treatment.
The demo was led by Kisumu deputy Governor Ruth Odinga and
Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir who stressed that they will continue with their
push to have the IEBC Commissioners ejected from office.
The demonstrators walked all the way from Kondele where they
had converged and later held a procession along Oginga Odinga and Angawa Streets
before heading to the IEBC offices through the Jomo Kenyatta Avenue.
“Use of this kind of force by police especially on women who
have already surrendered is unacceptable. We have been very peaceful and no
amount of intimidation will deter us from our course,” said Ms Odinga.
She asked IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan to read the public
mood and vacate office instead of subjecting the country to unnecessary tension
and injuries emanating from countrywide protests.
After dispersing the rioters, the joint forces of APs,
regular police, plain clothes and the flying squad extended their operation to
other parts of the CBD.
HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE
In Machakos County, Wiper Party leaders led by County Women
Representative Dr Susan Musyoka, Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala and Machakos
Central Ward MCA Cornellius Kitheka led supporters in protests at Mulu Mutisya
This was despite heavy police presence.
Demonstrators in Nairobi marched along city streets blowing
whistles and chanting anti-IEBC slogans as they demanded commissioners to leave
Initially, there had been low turnout but the crowd
increased as they marched to Anniversary Towers, where IEBC’s head offices are
Police officers were forced to fire tear gas canisters at
the protestors who were trying to move near the entrance.
Elsewhere, there were reports of mugging and robbery as the
demonstrators were said to have stolen property from motorists.
Shops on some streets were closed as the protestors posed a
threat to the traders.