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Police thwart attempts by Nasa to protest in city centre

Monday October 16 2017


Demonstrators run after police threw tear gas canisters at them outside Parliament buildings in Nairobi on October 16, 2017 during anti-IEBC protests. They were unable to access the CBD. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Opposition leaders on Monday retreated from their planned demonstrations against the electoral commission after efforts to access the city centre failed.

Police lobbed tear gas at MPs John Mbadi (Suba South), Simba Arati (Dagoretti), Samuel Atandi of Alego-Usonga and a host of Nasa leaders and supporters who had, on several occasions, tried to gain access into the central business district against the ban by acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

The police had sealed the city’s major entry points, to keep demonstrators from the city centre, but they occasionally gained access after engaging the officers in runs.

This is while some of the public spaces like the Uhuru Park, which has been the convergence point for the Nasa leaders and supporters, remained cordoned off.

Trouble began shortly after noon when Mr Mbadi, also the ODM chairman, and Mr Arati, alongside a host of MPs, rallied supporters along Uhuru Highway, en route to the city centre.

This was however short-lived as police tear-gassed the group ending efforts to reach IEBC offices at the Anniversary Towers.


Parliament was not spared as police hurled tear gas inside the parking lot designated for Senate committee chairpersons.

Mr Mbadi and Mr Arati had sought refuge in Parliament.

This happened as Parliament Road all the way from Intercontinental Hotel to the roundabout at Harambee Avenue, from Uhuru Highway to Moi Avenue, was graced by running battles.

Business remained paralysed in the afternoon along Moi Avenue, GPO, University Way and other routes used by the demonstrators.

The MPs accused the government of targeting them in the demonstrations even as they vowed that they will not relent or be intimidated by use of brutal force by the police.

This comes as Jubilee MP Joshua Kutuny (Cherengany) accused Dr Matiang’i of using excessive force against the anti-IEBC demonstrators.

Mr Kutuny, who addressed journalists at Parliament buildings, claimed that the President was being undermined by people in his own administration.

“Kenyans have a right to demonstrate. Matiang’i and the police are the ones contributing to the current situation by threatening and shooting people.

"Their use of brutal force shows that jubilee is a dictatorship regime,” he said.

In Isiolo Town, Nasa supporters marched peacefully and converged outside Isiolo North Constituency IEBC offices calling for electoral reforms.

The protest was led by Ms Nasibo Sora Abdirahaman, who lost the woman representative seat in the August poll on a Wiper party ticket.

The protesters who were chanting “No reforms, No Election” later dispersed after being addressed by their leaders.

“We will not get tired of protesting until our demands are met by the IEBC,” Ms Abdirahman said.

Reported by Silas Apollo, David Mwere, James Kahongeh and Vivian Jebet