Unrest flared in parts of Kisumu, Siaya and Migori Counties shortly after President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party was declared the winner of the August 8 presidential election, edging out Raila Odinga by more than 1.4 million votes.
A few minutes after 10:30pm Friday, after the electoral commission proclaimed Kenyatta the victor, supporters of Mr Odinga, who was the NASA presidential candidate, took to the streets in his strongholds of Kibra, Baba Dogo and Mathare in Nairobi and in Migori, Siaya and Kisumu counties to dispute the results.
Gunshots rung in parts of Odinga’s strongholds, with police deployed in heavy numbers ostensibly to break up anticipated violence.
Siaya town was on the tenterhooks Friday night, and immediately after Kenyatta’s victory declaration, supporters of Mr Odinga took to the county streets in protest.
“Siaya town is a ghost town. There is heavy security presence, with the General Service Unit (GSU) deployed in their hundreds to clear roads that had been barricaded by the protestors,” Citizen Television’s video journalist, Lillian Osiema, reports.
The journalist reported that residents were opting to remain indoors out of fear of the heavy police presence and the tear-gassing of protesters on Friday. A protester was reportedly shot dead and several others injured according to Ms Osiema.
Cautious traders opted to keep their businesses closed early Saturday after incidences of looting were reported.
Police reportedly stopped an attempt to torch two petrol stations in Bonyo, Siaya County according to Citizen Television reporter, Wilikister Nyabwa
In Migori town, the situation Saturday morning was similar to that in Siaya with police busy with the clearing of roads that had been barricaded by ODM supporters protesting the presidential election outcome.
“There is a high police presence. Nearly all shops and stalls in Migori town are closed; you cannot even spot a single Mama Mboga stall operating Saturday morning. Police Landrovers are patrolling the area,” said Citizen Television reporter, Dennis Otieno, who is present in Migori.
There were, however, no deaths or injuries reported in Migori, according to Mr Otieno.
Rongo Sub-County reportedly exploded in anger with a resident who sought anonymity, reporting of gunshots in Rongo town.
According to Migori County Police Commandant, Joseph Nthenge, “order has since resumed in Rongo town. Police will continue securing the Sub-County, even as they continue to clear roads that had been blocked Friday night.”
Citizen Television reporter, Wilkister Nyabwa, says there is heavy police presence in Kisumu County, a city regarded as Mr Odinga’s key heartland, with record numbers deployed to Nyalenda, Obunga, Manyatta, parts of Migosi, main highways and the slum areas.
“Kisumu central business district (CBD) is a ghost town, with very few on the streets. No properties were destroyed in the CBD following the Friday night outbreak of violence because the police contained the protestors to residential areas. However, in Kiboswa and Ahero shops were set ablaze,” according to Ms Nyabwa.
One person has been reported dead in Maseno following the violence.
“We are in control of the situation,” said Nyanza Regional Coordinator, Wilson Njenga.
Citizen Television reporter, Laura Achieng, present in Homa Bay town, another of Mr Odinga strongholds, says the situation is calm despite “short-lived” violence.
“Transport has been paralysed between the usually busy Homa Bay-Rongo road. Boulders that had been placed on roads have since been removed by the police. Calm was restored to an extent there was a church service held at one of the worship centers Saturday morning,” said Ms Achieng.
“Businesses, however, remain shut; and food prices have doubled in the market because of the limited supply. Police have said they would try as much as possible to ensure residents are constricted to home confines so as to contain the situation completely,” said Ms Achieng.
MATIANGI ON STATE OF SECURITY
Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’I, says life has moved back to normal after overnight outbursts of violence in parts of the country. The CS, who addressed the media at Harambee House in Nairobi, also blamed rooters and other criminals for the violence.
“Life has returned to normalcy. We assure Kenyans of safety and security. Lawlessness was, however, witnessed in parts of Kibra, Nairobi and Kisumu County; criminal elements attempted to take advantage of the situation to loot and destroy property. Security forces responded appropriately and restored normalcy in these parts,” said Mr Matiang’i.
The Interior CS denied allegations that police had used excessive force on protestors.
“I am not aware of any protestor killed by live bullets,” Matiang’i said while dismissing the claims as “rumour and gossip.”
He defended security officers saying they had used what he described as “proportionate force” to disperse the demonstrators.
Matiang’i also dismissed claims from human rights groups and ordinary citizens that police had infringed on the Opposition supporters right to demonstrations arguing that such rights, while enshrined in the Constitution, were not a cover for criminal acts.
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