Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o alleged Monday that hooligans posing as the Azimio coalition's supporters infiltrated protests and damaged property.
In a statement, the governor noted that residents had been engaging in peaceful protests when the hooligans arrived.
"The demonstrations were largely peaceful until a few hooligans, whose mission is yet to be established, infiltrated the crowd and started destroyinh property," he said.
He said a bank, supermarket, shopping mall and a hotel in the central business district were damaged.
Governor Nyong'o asked the police to open an investigation, arrest and punish the culprits.
The county chief's claims came a day after Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka alleged a plot by the government to use police to infiltrate Monday’s demonstrations and cause mayhem.
The former vice president, however, said the plan would not derail the protests, which he noted would proceed as planned.
Governor Nyong’o ,who condemned looting and destruction of property witnessed in the Lakeside city during the demonstrations against the Kenya Kwanza government, said those who were involved were not rioters, but cowardly criminals taking advantage of the situation.
He spoke hours after many buildings faced the wrath of the rioters in Kisumu. Pitstop Dala Club was vandalised and looted while Imperial Sarova Hotel and Quick Mart Supermarket were stoned.
The Post Bank, Naivas Supermarket, the Mayfair building and small shops along Kenyatta Avenue were also vandalised.
Further, President William Ruto’s UDA offices in Kisumu were vandalized and two vehicles torched while vehicles at the parking lot of Kondele Police Station were stoned.
Governor Nyong’o noted that he and the Azimio Coalition stand for peaceful and orderly picketing with no attacks on individuals or public property and investments.
“I wish to appeal to the police to urgently open investigations to not only identify and arrest the culprits but also to establish if it could be true that they had been sponsored, by some groups or individuals, to tarnish the name of Kisumu residents and Azimio la Umoja supporters as violent,” he said.
The county boss also appealed to the people of Kisumu to help protect the city's image and the investments in the region.
“In future demonstrations, our people should apprehend and hand over to the police anyone damaging property. We also appeal to the police to help protect lives and property during public demonstrations,” said Prof Nyong’o.
His sentiments came hours after Nyanza Regional Police Commander, Mr Karanja Muiruri, said action will b taken against the looters.
“We are watching closely and have arrested some people who were engaging in looting. We are also aware that some [of the cases] are as a result of business rivalry,” said Mr Muiruri.