Photo: Police in Kisumu lob teargas canisters to anti-IEBC demonstrators
Scores were injured Monday morning as police dispersed Cord supporters in anti-IEBC protest in Kisumu and Kisii towns; area MPs and youth had to run for their dear lives as police lobbed teargas at them and fired bullets (in Kisumu) in the air.
Kisii County is the latest to join IEBC demonstrations with Governor James Ongwae, Senator Chris Obure and Women Rep Grace Otara leading from the from.
In Kisii town, police fired several times in the air and engaged the demonstrators in running battles.
The officers’ action came barely minutes after Kisii County Governor James Ongwae and Senator Chris Obure had addressed the demonstrators at the county government headquarters. The running battles raged from raged from the entrance to the IEBC offices to Gusii Stadium.
Another group that was dispersed also regrouped at the Daraja Moja bridge but was quickly dispersed by the police.
“The commission cannot be trusted to oversee a free and fair election in the country. We therefore demand that it is disbanded and replaced by a new body,” said senator Obure.
It looks like CORD may have changed tact with focus now shifting to counties. Siaya, Kisumu and Kisii have experienced a dramatic confrontation with police over IEBC. Momentum is picking up with Bungoma, Kakamega, Kitui, Machakos, Narok, Mombasa, Kilifi set to join the demonstrations next week.
In Kisumu, two MCAs, an activist and an ODM official are nursing serious injuries after they were allegedly beaten by anti-riot police during the anti-IEBC demos.
Nereah Okombo (Manyatta B) and nominated member Pamela Odhiambo were rushed to hospital following injuries sustained during the protest.
An unknown number of people were also injured during the protest against the IEBC.
The riots, now in their third week, attracted a bigger crowd that split itself in three groups, a change of tact that creating a challenge to the authorities.
Ms Okombo suffered head injuries after she was hit by a tear-gas canister while Ms Odhiambo was roughed up by officers from the Quick Response Team wing of the Administration Police.
Just before Ms Odhiambo was attacked by the police officers, she was standing a few meters from the IEBC Nyanza regional office washing her face after she was overwhelmed by tear gas.
Her attempt to raise her hands in the air to show she had surrendered and was ignored as one officer hit her several times with a baton amid shouts and screams from other rioters.
Ms Okombo was rushed to Kisumu’s Aga Khan Hospital, where by noon, where her head wounds were stitched.
The activist, George Obala, was cornered with three others and also beaten before being chased away from the scene.
He was later rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital while Kisumu Central ODM Treasurer Edward Ogolla was also taken to Aga Khan Hospital for treatment.
The demo was led by Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga and Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir, who stressed that they would continue with their push to have the IEBC commissioners ejected from office.
The demonstrators walked all the way from Kondele, where they had converged, and later held a procession along Oginga Odinga and Angawa streets before heading to the IEBC offices through Jomo Kenyatta Avenue.
“Use of this kind of force by police especially on women who have already surrendered is unacceptable. We have been very peaceful and no amount of intimidation will deter us from our course,” said Ms Odinga.
She asked IEBC chairman Issack Hassan to read the public mood and vacate office instead of subjecting the country to unnecessary tension.
After dispersing the rioters, the joint forces of AP police, regular police, plain-clothes officers and the flying squad extended their operation to other parts of the town centre.
HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE
In Machakos County, Wiper Party leaders, including County Woman Representative Susan Musyoka, Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala and Machakos Central Ward MCA Cornelius Kitheka, led supporters in protests at Mulu Mutisya Gardens.
This was despite a heavy police presence.
Demonstrators in Nairobi marched along city streets blowing whistles and chanting anti-IEBC slogans as they demanded that commissioners leave office.
Initially, there had been a low turnout but the crowd grew as protesters marched to Anniversary Towers, where the IEBC’s head offices are housed.
Police officers were forced to fire tear-gas canisters at the protesters trying to move closer to the entrance.