Governor Gladys Wanga: Where is my security detail?

Gladys Wanga

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga wants the authorities responsible for her safety to explain why her security detail was withdrawn last week.

The governor, who is among a group of politicians allied to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga said she does not feel safe after her official bodyguard was withdrawn by the government.

Ms Wanga, along with other Nyanza governors Anyang Nyong'o (Kisumu), James Orengo (Siaya) and Ochilo Ayacko (Migori), had their security details withdrawn last week.

This came after Mr Odinga called for street protests to force the government to reduce the cost of basic commodities by recalling the controversial Finance Bill 2023.

Ms Wanga said she had not been given any explanation as to why her bodyguard was recalled.

"We (Azimio leaders) are being unfairly targeted. We demand an explanation as to why our security has been withdrawn," she said.

She said her personal guard and others at her home had all been recalled.

The governor spoke on Sunday night after visiting victims of last week's street protests who were allegedly shot and maimed by police.

Some were at home in the Shauri Yako slums, while others were still in hospital.

Earlier in the day, the governor boarded a plane from Nairobi's Wilson Airport and landed at Kabunde Airstrip in the afternoon.

She was accompanied by former Laikipia governor Ndiritu Muriithi and county roads director Danish Onyango. Her usual armed bodyguard was not present.

She was then met by county MCAs and other county officials before travelling to Shauri Yako.

There she was told about the protests in Homa Bay town last week.

Ms Wanga was absent from the protest, as were top Azimio leaders.

She accused police officers tasked with maintaining law and order during the three days of protests of using excessive force in certain areas.

The county chief accused the national police of causing harm to civilians when they could have used alternative means to disperse them.

"Why were some people shot? It means the police used excessive force," said Ms Wanga.

According to the governor, cases of injuries and deaths are more concentrated in areas where Azimio has more support than Kenya Kwanza.

She pointed in particular to the Nyanza counties of Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya, and some areas in Nairobi such as Mathare and Kibra.

During the demonstrations, a number of people were shot and injured in Homa Bay town.

At least eight were treated and discharged from the County Teaching and Referral Hospital. They had gunshot wounds to their lower limbs.

The victims are residents of Shauri Yako slums.

Three other parents, referred from Rongo, are still in hospital.

They were shot in the chest and back.

Ms Wanga condemned the attacks and urged the relevant authorities to take action against the officers responsible.

The governor said the Constitution gives Kenyans the freedom to demonstrate if they feel the government is doing them wrong.

According to Ms Wanga, people in her county and other regions have demonstrated in the past and no one has been killed or injured.

She wondered why the police had to shoot at the demonstrators.

She described the victims as vendors demanding that the government reduce the cost of living.

"The pattern of the government's handling of the protesters showed that they had intentions to kill. We cannot accept that," said Ms Wanga.

Mr Muriithi, who accompanied Ms Wanga, urged leaders in elective positions not to abuse people who did not vote for them.

Homa Bay County Assembly Speaker Julius Gaya and Majority Leader Richard Ogindo told police to stop using excessive force against the people.