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Injuries and arrests mar four hours of Cord city protests

Tuesday May 17 2016

Cord politicians Johnstone Muthama (centre) and James Orengo (right) comfort a protestor who was shot by Police at Nairobi Hospital as they were demonstrating against IEBC on May 16, 2016. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cord politicians Johnstone Muthama (centre) and James Orengo (right) comfort a protestor who was shot by Police at Nairobi Hospital as they were demonstrating against IEBC on May 16, 2016. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

STELLA CHERONO
By STELLA CHERONO
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Police on Monday dispersed crowds that had gathered outside the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters in Nairobi even before opposition leaders could address them.

The crowd, which echoed opposition’s demand that the government  disbands the electoral agency, started arriving at the Anniversary Towers at 10am.

The protesters chanted anti-IEBC slogans as they waited for Cord boss Raila Odinga and other leaders to arrive.

“We are tired of being lied to.  We want an electoral body that we can trust,” a protester, Kelly Mutua, said, adding; “Kenyans have lost faith in the IEBC.”

As the protesters marched along University Way, the crowd grew bigger.

By then, police officers drawn from the Kenya Police and the Administration Police had already cordoned off the Anniversary Towers that houses the IEBC.

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Armoured personnel carriers President Uhuru Kenyatta purchased a few months ago in what he termed as the process of ‘modernising the police force’ were also stationed in different parts of the road and along Uhuru Highway.

Police officers from the General Service Unit were stationed at the Central Police Station, the Lilian Towers and several points along Uhuru Highway, ready to counter the protesters.

The protests by youth, some of whom used motorcycles to move from one side of the street to another, were peaceful, until the Cord leaders arrived and started addressing them at Lilian Towers.

The leaders included Mr Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Ms Elizabeth Ongoro, Mr Moses Wetang’ula, Mr Tom Kajwang, Mr Simba Arati and Mr James Orengo, among others.

Politicians affiliated to Kanu, led by party Secretary-General Nick Salat, also joined in the protests.

Senator Johnson Muthama was the first to address the crowd, and said the reason they were there was because IEBC commissioners were still in office.

“Kenyans have lost confidence in IEBC and its commissioners. For us to have free and fair elections, they have to go,” said the Machakos senator.

Mr Muthama ushered in Siaya Senator Orengo who started by accusing the Jubilee administration of failing to investigate the killing of businessman Jacob Juma.

The other leaders sat on the tarmac as he addressed the crowd.

POLICE INTERUPTED ORENGO ADDRESS

Police lobbed tear gas as Mr Orengo addressed the crowd to send everyone scampering.

The leaders, who had parked their cars along Moi Avenue and behind the Lilian Towers had to run for their lives  as protesters too ran in different directions.

Some of the protesters hurled stones at police officers who confronted them.

Several people, including activist Japheth Moroko, were injured. Mr Moroko was seen bleeding profusely from the head and leg. He was taken to Nairobi Hospital.

Cord officials later claimed on social media they had been shot at and accused the police of using live ammunition.

However, police denied the claims. They said they arrested several people during the protests that lasted close to four hours.

“We have arrested 15 people and confiscated five motorcycles that were used by the protests,” said Central OCPD Paul Wanjama.

Mr Wanjama insisted that no live bullets were used during the protests and also refuted claims that Mr Odinga’s car had been shot at by the officers.