Man shot dead in Kisumu protests, two others nursing bullet wounds

kisumu protests

Protesters at Kisumu Boys Roundabout try to access the city centre during anti-government demos on March 27, 2023.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega |Nation Media Group

 Police in Kisumu yesterday shot dead one anti-government protester in Kondele.

The number of casualties has now risen to two. On Monday last week, William Mayenga, a third-year student at Maseno University, was shot dead during demos around the institution.

The man killed yesterday was shot in the leg and the chest—the bullets exiting from the back. His identity was not immediately established. Dr George Rae, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital chief executive, said the body was taken to the facility’s morgue at around 1 pm. “One person was shot dead, a young, unknown male in his early 20s. The police brought him and left him in the morgue.”

Three other people, a woman in Kondele and two men in Migori, sustained gunshot wounds on the second Monday of anti-government protests witnessed in counties perceived to be Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s strongholds.

Police lob teargas to disperse protesters kisumu

Police lob teargas to disperse protesters in Kisumu on March 27, 2023. 

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Dr George Rae, the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital Chief Executive Officer, said the body was brought to the facility at around 1pm.

“There was one person who was shot dead, young, unknown male in his early 20s. The police brought him and left him in the morgue,” said Dr Rae.

Azimio supporters took to the streets to express their frustrations with President William Ruto’s administration. Kisumu, Kisii, Migori, Homa Bay, Kakamega and Siaya residents demanded answers on the high cost of living, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers and recruitment of new IEBC chiefs.

They carried sufurias and cooking sticks, lit bonfires and blocked major roads.

Due to heavy police presence, some were dispersed using tear gas, and tens of the unlucky ones arrested. A strategy by police and politicians to guide the protests bore fruit as it averted destruction of property, despite fears that rioters would target businesses whose products have been blacklisted for boycott by Azimio.

The absence of politicians last week played a role in creating confusion as there was no one to offer leadership. This changed yesterday as Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Deputy Governor Mathew Owili, Kisumu Central MP Joshua Oron and several MCAs led the protests.

They, however, evaded the city centre, choosing to use the Kondele bypass towards Kachok. The politicians also identified hotspots and criminals who take advantage of demonstrations to loot and destroy property.

“We want to participate 100 per cent, but we don’t want to destroy anything. That is why this morning we had to be on the ground to lead our protesters,” said Dr Owili.

He said they had to ensure some angry youths don’t proceed through town. “We refused and eventually they followed us and we are happy they are heeding our rallying call,” said Dr Owili.

Marshals, though not branded, were on standby at different sections of the city to identify those who might have infiltrated the protest to cause chaos or loot property. Many people could be heard condemning anyone who threw stones.

Some rioters attempted to access the CBD through the Kisumu Boys roundabout, Jua-kali and Kachok but were repulsed by riot police and two people arrested.

A change of tack by the police also saved a number of businesses from being vandalised. Instead of waiting for the protesters to make their way through the CBD, as they did last week, the police cordoned off the city centre, barricading all access points.

In Kakamega, protests began early in the morning, prompting some traders to close their businesses fearing a confrontation between police officers and protesters. A nominated county assembly member was arrested as police dispersed protesters.

In Siaya, Bondo, Ndori and Yala towns were paralysed during demonstrations. Gem residents also joined the demos, ignoring their MP Elisha Odhiambo’s warning that there would be no protests in the constituency.

Homa Bay residents engaged police officers in running battles as they heeded calls by the opposition to go to the streets.

In Kisii Town, there was heavy presence of anti-riot police in what sources said was an order from 'above' to ensure no demonstrations took place in the county.

The police, also armed with clubs, kept patrolling the town and walked in a straight line in a show of power and spread of fear to residents, some who had vowed to protest.

Kisii Woman Representative Dorice Aburi condemned the ongoing demonstrations called by her coalition leader Raila Odinga.

By Rushdie Oudia, Benson Amadala, Kassim Adinasi, Ruth Mbula and George Odiwuor