The Malindi by-election campaigns turned violent Monday when ODM youths clashed with their Jubilee rivals at the Malindi Airport shortly before the arrival of Cord leader Raila Odinga.
The ODM youths were waiting to receive Mr Odinga when Jubilee supporters, chanting praises for the JAP candidate Phillip Charo arrived in a truck, prompting a confrontation in which the two sides threw stones at each other while hurling insults.
The truck was quickly driven off at high speed when the driver realised the violence was getting worse.
At least eight people were injured.
“We were driving from Evergreen from a meeting headed to another in Ganda when we came across the ODM people waiting to receive Mr Odinga. They started raining stones on us even as I tried to drive at top speed away from the violence,’’ said Mr Abdalla Adu, the driver, adding that those who were injured sustained, head, chest and back injuries.
Mombasa Coast Regional Commissioner Nelson Marwa sought to assure Malindi residents of security ahead of the March 7 by election and during the voting.
Addressing journalists in his office at Uhuru na Kazi building, Mr Marwa said police had installed intelligence devices to capture any attempt to disrupt the elections.
“We are well prepared. Anyone who had plans to disrupt the election should know that we have heightened our intelligence. We also have gadgets to capture hate speeches. The Government is in control so let the election be done without any disturbance,” he said.
Mr Marwa said a multi-agency team was monitoring the campaigns to ensure peace was not disrupted.
“We just need those who are campaigning to do it in a civilized manner. The elections will be done and people will be back to their normal lives, thus we need not any kind of disruption,’’ he said.
Mr Odinga, who arrived at the airport shortly before 5pm was driven straight to Msabaha Grounds about 15km away, in a convoy that caused a huge traffic jam as the vehicles snaked round the town.
He was welcomed at the Malindi airport by ODM deputy leader and Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi and Kilifi and Mombasa County Mps Aisha Jumwa and Mishi Mboko.
He is expected to pitch camp in the constituency to campaign for the Orange Democratic Party Candidate William Mtengo.
Corruption within Jubilee and specifically the NYS scandal took centre stage at the rally, with speakers accusing President Kenyatta of doing little to contain graft in his government.
Mr Odinga described the Jubilee Government as an administration “full of thieves,’’ calling on it to resign for failing to fulfil its key elections promises.
He gave the example of the provision of laptops to pupils, electricity supply to the country, the irrigation of a million acres in Galana-Kulalu Ranch and the tarmacking of 10,000 kilometres of roads.
He said the land ownership problems at the Coast could not be solved by Jubilee leaders because most of them were beneficiaries of the problems.
“The ODM government will resolve the land problems at the Coast. You must put in place a Cord government next year so that all your problems are solved, “ said Mr Odinga.
In the meantime, the Jubilee Alliance Party campaign team led by Kinango MP Gonzi Rai yesterday met groups of elders as they fought to clinch the seat left vacant after Mr Dan Kazungu was appointed to the Cabinet.
Mr Rai who briefed journalists on the state of their campaign accompanied by Ganze MP Peter Shehe said they had called off two rallies so they could prepare to receive Deputy President William Ruto who is expected back in the constituency tomorrow.
Monday the group carried out a door-to-door campaign in all the five wards.
Six candidates are fighting it out for the seat . Others are Mr Attass Shariff (Labour Party), Reuben Katana (Kadu Asili), David Mangi, (Shirikisho) and Peter Ponda of CCU.
Reported by Charles Lwanga, Samuel Kazungu, Daniel Nyassy and Mohammed Ahmed.