Hundreds clash with police as Nasa vows to hold demos daily

Thursday October 12 2017

Nasa supporters

Nasa supporters demonstrate at Kondele roundabout in Kisumu, on October 11, 2017. They were calling for reforms at the electoral commission. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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The National Super Alliance on Wednesday announced it had increased the frequency of mass protests from three days every week to daily.

The alliance also sought to clarify that its flagbearer Raila Odinga had only pulled out of the October 26 election but not the presidential race.

The opposition leaders, speaking at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, insisted that an election can only be held in 90 days and after their demands for poll reforms are met.

They said the withdrawal of Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka from the October 26 polls, was not an abandonment of the race to State House but was merely meant to force the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission to begin the process from scratch and give it time to respond to the reform demands.

PRE-DETERMINED

Siaya Senator James Orengo, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and former Machakos senator Johnson Muthama, while leading the demonstrations alongside a host of Nasa elected leaders, accused the IEBC of failing to act on their demands and instead opting to conduct a repeat election whose outcome they said was pre-determined.

Nasa supporters protest

Nasa supporters protest along Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi, on October 11, 2017. The opposition coalition is calling for IEBC reforms before October 26 presidential repeat polls. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“This is a battle that we must win. On Friday, we will begin with a rally at Uhuru Park and proceed with the protests,” said Mr Orengo. “The law allows every Kenyan the right to protest if the government interferes with rights.”

According to the MPs, an election will only be legitimate with the participation of Nasa candidates, hence holding the polls on October 26 will be null and void.

“And beginning Monday next week, we will hold daily demonstrations across the country. It should be known that Raila Odinga did not abandon his quest for the presidency but only withdrew from the October 26 race,” said Mr Orengo, adding that President Uhuru Kenyatta was only enjoying temporal incumbency whose tenure will end by November 1, when the 60 days in which the Supreme Court ordered a fresh elections lapse.

JOHN MBADI

Some of the Nasa MPs present at the demonstrations were John Mbadi (Suba), Simba Arati (Dagoretti North), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i), Ken Okoth (Kibra), Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and woman representatives Rosa Buyu (Kisumu) and Gladys Wanga of Homa Bay.

Mr Odinga pulled out of the election on Tuesday, accusing the IEBC of failing to address massive missteps identified by the Supreme Court when it annulled the re-election of President Kenyatta on September 1, in a move pundits said plunged the country into political uncertainty.

Nasa supporter

Nasa supporter protests inside a pool at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on October 11, 2017. The opposition coalition is pushing for wat it terms "electoral justice". PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Odinga based his decision on the 2013 ruling by the Justice Willy Mutunga-led Supreme Court on the possible scenarios should a candidate opt out of the presidential race or die before an election is held.

While opinions are divided on the way forward, Mr Odinga has argued that the withdrawal will allow the IEBC more time to act on his demands for reforms, and perhaps force Jubilee MPs to go slow on their decision to amend the electoral laws.

FRESH ELECTIONS

President Kenyatta has, however, insisted that the October 26 fresh elections must go ahead with or without Mr Odinga’s participation.

Mr Joho and former Mr Muthama said the Jubilee administration was hell-bent on rigging the elections in collusion with the electoral commission.

“We will not allow anyone to intimidate us and stifle our democratic rights,” said Mr Joho. Earlier, in an address at Uhuru park, the leaders vowed to rally for more protests country-wide, until IEBC officials led by its chief executive Ezra Chiloba leave office.

One of the protesters at the gate of the IEBC Nyanza region offices in Kisumu on October 11, 2017.

One of the Nasa protesters at the gate of the IEBC Nyanza region offices in Kisumu on October 11, 2017. Police officers watch closely in the background. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Mr Muthama said the Jubilee administration was to blame for the ills bedevilling the country and if allowed to continue in power, would run down the economy.

“Should they plan to proceed with the elections on October 26, we will close all roads and ensure that the elections are not held,” said Mr Muthama.

The leaders rallied their supporters across various streets in the city centre, where they clashed with the police who lobbed tear gas at them.

INJURED

In Homa Bay, where hundreds turned up to protest, a police officer was injured and several other people shot and wounded in Kisumu and  Siaya.

Police lobbed tear gas at the protesters and they in turn hurled stones at the security officers.

Police lob teargas to disperse protesting Nasa supporters along Moi Avenue, Nairobi

Police lob teargas canisters at protesting Nasa supporters along Moi Avenue, Nairobi, on October 11, 2017. They were calling for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission before October 26 repeat presidential polls. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Wednesday evening, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and referral Hospital was struggling to cope with the high number of people who checked in with injuries. Medical boss Juliana Otieno asked for reinforcement as more and more people queued for treatment.

“I am overwhelmed and the number of patients being brought in is high. Nurses are not at work and there is no one to attend to them,” said Dr Otieno, adding that by 3pm, 19 people had been admitted, three of whom had what looked like gunshot wounds.  The rest had been clobbered or had suffered tear gas burns. One woman who appeared like she had been shot was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

“We are hoping that we are going to get more nurses to attend to them because if we don’t, I am afraid it might get more serious since some of them are writhing in pain,” she said

Kisumu Police Chief Titus Yoma, however, said no live bullets had been used on the crowd.

GUN MISSING

The police officer sustained serious injuries and was rescued by his colleagues amid unconfirmed reports that his gun had gone missing, a claim Homa Bay Police Commander Marius Tum said he could not confirm.

Protesters had cornered the officer who was dispersing the crowd but was left behind by his colleagues who retreated to a nearby police station when the mob seemed to outnumber them. The officer sought refuge at a nearby timber yard only for the mob to follow him and set upon him with kicks and all manner of weapons.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff (left) Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff (left) Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and Siaya Senator James Orengo lead Nasa supporters at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on October 11, 2017 where they called for reforms in the electoral commission. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The officer sustained deep cuts to the head and fractures on the limbs and was rescued by ODM youth leader Collins Kalee who pleaded with the mob to leave him alone.

In Siaya, protesters disrupted normal operations at the county government offices after a crowd camped outside the premises to force the officials to join the demos.

 

Reported by Silas Apollo, Victor Otieno, Victor Raballa, Elisha Otieno, Barack Oduor, Magati Obebo, Benson Amadala, Nelcon Odhiambo, Angela Oketch