Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has told security authorities in the region to respect people’s lives ahead of the Friday Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election petition.
Addressing mourners at the burial of Christabel Ouko, the widow of former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko, Governor Nyong’o said he would lead the county in prayers on Friday as they await the court's decision on the case filed by Nasa leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.
He called on police to employ only legal measures in handling celebrations or dissent by members of the public and avoid scenes seen earlier last month when security agencies cracked down on protesters.
The crashing of demonstrators hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared victor in the elections received widespread condemnations from human rights defenders, who accused the police of brutality.
However, the security agencies denied any brutality, arguing they only targeted criminals who were taking advantage of the protests to loot stores and mug people.
“Tomorrow (Friday) the world is not coming to an end. We have lost too many people, including Dr Ouko. We don’t want any more deaths in our motherland,” Prof Nyong’o said, referring to the assassination of the former minister in February 1990.
“Tomorrow (Friday) at 2pm we shall launch the call at St Stephen’s Church, Kisumu,” he said displaying an orange T-shirt written “Luo lives matter”.
He was flanked by his wife, Dorothy Nyong’o.
He said Kisumu residents would sport the T-Shirts during the judgment to warn police against killing innocent people who will either be celebrating or expressing displeasure with the decision.
At the funeral of Mrs Ouko in Koru, Muhoroni Sub-County in Kisumu, several dignitaries including Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and former Kitui Senator David Musila, were present.
Prof Nyong’o said he was also there to convey Mr Odinga’s condolence message and said the Nasa leader had asked him to express his solidarity and hope to the people.
“He (Raila) told me to tell our people that whatever happens tomorrow, we are winners,” Prof Nyong’o said.
He told the people of Kisumu to go for prayers on Friday over the court matter and pray for peace.
“We ask you, tomorrow, [to] go to church, mosque, temple and wherever you pray and give thanks to God that we are one Kenya. A soldier lives to fight another battle,” the governor said.
Mrs Ouko died in a car crash on August 21 after attending the inauguration of Prof Nyong’o.
In his message, President Kenyatta said Mrs Ouko had a brilliant mind and was a patriot who served the country with passion.