Former Kitui mayor Martha Mwangangi has been crushed to death and former Lands minister Charity Ngilu has cheated death after protests opposing the demolition of kiosks turned tragic in Kitui town on Friday.
Mrs Ngilu was almost run over by the county government fire engine that killed Ms Mwangangi.
Eyewitnesses told the Nation that the driver of the fire engine was trying to scare away a crowd that had threatened to torch another county vehicle when he ran over Ms Mwangangi.
The truck was heading to Kalundu, where the protesters had lit bonfires and barricaded the Kitui-Thika road, when it ploughed into the crowd, killing the ex-mayor as other demonstrators escaped death by a whisker.
Ms Mwangangi and Mrs Ngilu had come to show solidarity with traders whose kiosks were flattened on Thursday night on the orders of Governor Julius Malombe's administration.
Mrs Ngilu escaped being hit by the fire engine by a few inches after she was shoved aside by her bodyguard.
Most of the protesters ran for their dear lives after witnessing the horrifying accident.
They accused the driver of murder.
It was also rumoured that one of the aggrieved traders had committed suicide after finding her kiosk reduced to a pile of scrap metal, along with her entire stock.
However, the Nation could not immediately establish the authenticity of the alleged suicide.
The driver, however, sped away after the crash, probably to escape lynching by the rowdy crowd that was baying for his blood.
Earlier, the angry protesters roughed up Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu at Kalundu after they mistook him for a county officer.
Mr Mulu's bodyguard had to fire in the air to scare away the surging crowd that was baying for his boss’s blood.
The lawmaker was then whisked away and hid in a nearby building until the protesters dispersed.
Trouble started when the traders woke up to the shock of finding their kiosks flattened, sparking demonstrations all over Kitui town.
The protests paralysed transport and business in the town for more than five hours.
The fire engine driver was later arrested at the Kitui Ginnery and taken to the Kitui Central Police Station.
Ms Mwangangi's body was taken to the Kitui General Hospital mortuary as police commenced investigations.