Death, business interruption grace opposition protests

Nasa supporters demonstrate in Kondele, Kisumu County, on October 16, 2017, agitating for electoral reforms. A student was shot dead. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Shops remained closed and roads blocked for the better part of the day for fear of looting and destruction of property.
  • Mombasa Urban police boss Lucas Ogara said those arrested had tried to cause a commotion in the town.

A Form Four student became the latest victim of clashes between opposition protesters and the police in Kisumu after he was shot dead during Monday’s demonstrations against the electoral commission.

In Mombasa, at least three people were arrested as police used tear gas to disperse the National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters who were demonstrating against the poll agency despite a government ban.

In Kisumu, the student, according to his tearful mother, Ms Caroline Okello, had been at home because of a Sh10,000 fee balance, only to be felled by a bullet when he went to buy ice cream across the road.

“I had left him in the house after we had breakfast. I warned him not to leave because there were protests in the area,” Ms Okello told reporters.

“At about 1 or 2pm, someone called to inform me that my son had been shot. He was dead.”

The 18-year-old identified as Michael Okello was shot from the back.

He died instantly and the body was taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital mortuary.

Residents claimed police took out a bullet from his neck shortly after they shot him.

Kisumu police boss Titus Yoma could not confirm if the student had died from a police bullet because the body was taken to the mortuary by residents.

It was the latest blot on the protests, which had begun peacefully and were led, initially, by Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, his deputy Mathews Owili and Speaker Onyango Oloo.

The group defied orders by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and accessed the town centre as the daily anti-IEBC demos called by Nasa kicked off Monday.

Shops remained closed and roads blocked for the better part of the day for fear of looting and destruction of property.

“We are aware that some Jubilee officials met some local people in one of the hotels in a move to buy their identity cards,” Prof Nyong’o said while addressing the demonstrators at the IEBC offices in Milimani.

In Mombasa, three people were arrested on Moi Avenue as police dispersed demonstrators.

They were bundled into police vehicles patrolling the CBD.

Mombasa Urban police boss Lucas Ogara said those arrested had tried to cause a commotion in the town.

“I am yet to know the exact number of those arrested as we have different groups of officers dealing with the protesters,” Mr Ogara said on phone.

Earlier in the morning, police clashed with Nasa supporters on Moi Avenue and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The handful group of supporters led by Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir scampered for safety.

Police did not spare journalists covering the demo whom they also tear-gassed.

A tear gas canister was thrown into a pick-up the press team was using.

Business on the busy road was disrupted as traders closed their shops.

The protesters seemed to have been energised by Sunday’s rally in the town addressed by Nasa leader Raila Odinga.

During the rally, Mr Odinga and his co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula called for the scaling up of demos in the tourist town.

In Homa Bay, businesses remained closed as protesters blocked main roads in the town, paralysing, transport and other operations.

Unlike in the past, police watched from a distance as protesters took to the streets.

The residents have vowed to continue protesting until some IEBC officials, such as the CEO Ezra Chiloba, whom they accuse of mismanaging the August elections resign.

“We want the protesters to demonstrate peacefully without provoking the police or exhibiting acts of lawlessness,” local police boss Marius Tum said.

In Siaya, where two people were killed last week, protesters led by county Speaker George Okode and a section of MCAs demonstrated in the town’s streets before converging at the county commissioner’s office to present their petition.

“We have adjourned the assembly until further notice and we’ll resume sittings once reforms at the electoral body are done.

“We plan to take part in demonstrations in all the six sub-counties. We have started with Alego/Usonga then proceed to Ugunja, Ugenya, Bondo and Rarieda,” Mr Okode said.

In Kakamega, former Senator Boni Khalwale and Lurambi MP Titus Khamala defied the heavy security presence in the town and led a group of opposition supporters in anti-IEBC protests.

Dr Khalwale showed up at 2.30pm in the company of supporters waving the “No Reforms, No Election” banners after hopes of the protests taking place were fading away.

Police in anti-riot gear escorted the protesters to the IEBC offices to hand in their petition to the county returning officer, Ms Grace Rono.

Reports by Rushdie Oudia, Victor Raballa, Victor Otieno, Nelcon Odhiambo, Barack Oduor, Elisha Otieno, Mohamed Ahmed, Diana Mutheu and Benson Amadala


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