Police in Kisii seize machetes ahead of Raila's visit

Police in Kisii have seized more machetes in their continued hunt for people planning to cause chaos in political rallies. This comes ahead of Monday's visit by Azimio Presidential candidate Raila Odinga in the county. Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli said they have one suspect in custody.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega I Nation Media Group

Police in Kisii have seized seven machetes in a crackdown on suspects planning to cause chaos in political rallies.

One suspect is in custody and is helping police with investigations.

This comes ahead of Monday's visit by Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Presidential candidate Raila Odinga in Kisii.

Kisii County Police commander Francis Kooli said the machetes were found hidden in a toilet at Senator Bar and Restaurant in Mwembe estate near Kisii town.

"We are holding the proprietor of the bar to shed light on how and why the machetes were hidden in her bar. We were tipped by a member of the public on Saturday about the pangas," said Mr Kooli.

He said they are still investigating a related incident where four machetes were confiscated near Kisii Sports Club last week.

The machetes are in addition to a dozen clubs recovered by police. The clubs were being transported by a boda boda rider and were also found near the Kisii Sports Club.

Mr Kooli said they are pursuing four people suspected to be behind the planned chaos.

Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli said the machetes were found hidden in a toilet at Senator Bar and Restaurant in Mwembe estate near Kisii town.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega I Nation Media Group

He said the machetes were wrapped in a reflector jacket bearing the name of the Kisii United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate.

The weapons were found hidden in a thicket near the Kisii Sports Club located near the County Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters.

"We have been on high alert following intelligence reports four days ago of impending violence and disruption of peace in the county. Our officers were tipped about the hidden machetes," said Mr Kooli.

He said they want the outgoing Nyaribari Masaba lawmaker to shed light on why a reflector bearing his name had wrapped the machetes.

"We are not saying the candidate is behind this, but we want an explanation why his image was found here," said Mr Kooli. 

The police boss said they had handed over the four names to investigators for further probe.

"We are closely monitoring the activities of suspected to be planning and financing of chaos in the county. We are warning candidates who cause chaos that they risk being barred by IEBC," said Mr Kooli.

The County Security Committee had earlier indicated that some aspirants have been planning chaos and blaming it on their competitors in a scheme to paint them negatively and portray as hooligans.

"We are tired of the blame games and we are not going to take it lightly any more. We had earlier been alerted about a vehicle carrying weapons and we are monitoring," said the police boss. 

He added that they are also investigating the formation of some militia groups by some politicians. 

"We are pursuing some politicians whom intelligence have pointed to be behind some militia groups. We are also monitoring some social media platforms which are propagating the actions of some of these militias," said Mr Kooli.

But in a rejoinder, Mr Machogu distanced himself from the planned chaos saying he has been a long-serving District Commissioner and understands matters security well.

"I have been an administrator and I understand security issues well.  We have been peaceful people," said Mr Machogu.

He however accused the police of bias, saying that the fact that they found a reflector bearing his image does not mean that he is responsible for the machetes.

"I find it alarming that police actually claim that we are behind the machetes. Anyone can place my name there," said Mr Machogu.

There have been bloody incidents recently in some parts of the county where some candidates faced hostile crowds and were pelted with stones, especially if the politicians left without giving handouts after addressing the people.

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