What you need to know:
- The plan has the backing of the business community and the clergy in the region often associated with violent confrontations between police officers and protesters.
- It remains to be seen just how the marshals will make a difference during the usually charged protests that end in destruction of property, running battles, lots of tear-gassing and arrests.
As the country braces for a fresh round of protests starting Monday, political leaders in Kisumu County, who are allied to the Azimio coalition led by opposition chief Raila Odinga, have a new game plan for containing violence.
They are going to hire marshals to work closely with police officers in directing protesters and ensuring they do not engage in hooliganism and violent confrontations.
The plan has the backing of the business community and the clergy in the region often associated with violent confrontations between police officers and protesters.
The marshals and police will work closely to ensure the protesters do not barricade roads, start bonfires on roads or engage in violence.
On Saturday, Kisumu Deputy Governor Matthew Owili said the government withdrew his security to punish him for taking part in the anti-government protests.
Dr Owili told Nation.Africa that the two officers who were guarding him were recalled to Central Police Station by their senior for redeployment.
"I have not received any official communication but I suspect this is probably because of the ongoing demonstrations called by Raila," he said.
The deputy county chief said the move has affected some other prominent leaders in the opposition.
"All I can tell you is that I am not the only one whose security has been withdrawn. Others have had their security detail scaled down," he said.
However, Dr Owili maintained that he will neither be intimidated not scared into staying away from the protests.
"This is not about me or any other leader but the ordinary people struggling to put a meal on the table amidst the high cost of living," he said.
It remains to be seen just how the marshals will make a difference during the usually charged protests that end in destruction of property, running battles, lots of tear-gassing and arrests.
The leaders agreed to block the protestors from accessing the central business district following concerns over incidents of hooliganism, looting, destruction of property and attacks on residents going about their normal business.
Earlier this week, Kisumu Governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o alleged that hooligans posing as supporters of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition infiltrated protests and damaged property.
City Manager Abala Wanga said they will bar infiltration by criminal gangs that also rape women and carry out muggings.
“We have agreed that those leading the demonstration do so peacefully and work alongside marshals to ensure no incidents of violence and property damage,” said Mr Wanga.
“We are not condemning demonstrations but want them done peacefully. We are appealing to leaders to avoid demonstrations that turn into criminal activities. We are going to sit with police, agree on the hotspots, including business areas, and have them identify criminals who infiltrate the demonstrations as early as possible.”
Last week, the suspected hooligans damaged a bank, supermarket, shopping mall and a hotel in the town centre.
While calling for open investigations to ensure the culprits are punished, Governor Nyong’o claimed the demonstrations were peaceful until these groups showed up.
Among the affected premises were the United Democratic Alliance party’s office, Pitstop Dala Club, Sarova Hotel and Quickmart supermarket.
Prof Nyong’o also appealed to residents to help protect the city’s image and investments in the region.
Also present on Saturday was Kondele MCA Joachim Oketch, who said they have learnt that some youths have been hired and trained to infiltrate the demonstrations.
Mr Oketch said they were tipped off by locals and that they informed the police on time, asking them to track down the criminals who were allegedly being trained in Awasi, Kisumu County.
He noted that residents had been engaging in peaceful demonstrations weeks before the national anti-government protests began.
The ward representative urged the police to protect the demonstrators and not attack them as has been witnessed before.
"I want to make it clear that next week we will be here to join our people so that we demonstrate peacefully, as we have been doing,” he said.
Mr Pamina Singh, chair of the Kisumu branch of the Hindu Council, said: “After today’s meeting, we are hopeful that the demonstrations will be held peacefully and that activities will continue normally. Kisumu should not be destroyed.”
By Angeline Ochieng, Victor Raballa and Benson Amadala