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 over the National Super Alliance (NASA) candidate, Raila Odinga, by more than 1.4 million votes in a hotly contested poll.
A few minutes after 10:30pm Friday, when Uhuru’s victory was proclaimed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, supporters of veteran politician, Mr Odinga, took to the streets in Odinga’s heartlands – Kibra, Baba Dogo and Mathare in Nairobi; Migori, Siaya and Kisumu – to dispute the results.
Gunshots echoed through parts of Odinga’s strongholds, with police deployed in record numbers to break up any violence that would arise as a result of the declaration of presidential results.
Siaya town was on the tenterhooks Friday night, and immediately after Uhuru’s victory declaration, supporters of Mr Odinga took to different streets in the county to protest.
“Siaya town is a ghost town. There is heavy security presence, with the General Service Unit (GSU) officers deployed in their hundreds to maintain tranquility; and clear roads that had been barricaded by the protestors Friday night,” Citizen Television’s video journalist, Lillian Osiema, reports.
“Saturday morning, residents feared leaving their houses because of the intimidating police presence in Siaya town. Teargas, on several instances, was hurled at rowdy protestors Friday night through Saturday morning, especially on residential areas located next to the roads.
“One has been reported dead, with an unknown count injured during the face-off between the police and protestors,” said Ms Osiema.
“A section of the protestors destroyed property of unknown value Friday.
“On Saturday morning shops remained closed, businesses shut, residents holed up in their homes and heavily-armed police figures patrolling Siaya town,” she added.
Citizen Television reporter, Wilikister Nyabwa, present on ground, reports that “there was an attempt in Bonyo, Siaya County to torch two petrol stations but it was stopped.”
In Migori town, the situation Saturday morning was similar to that in Siaya, where security officers embarked on clearing roads that had been barricaded using huge stones, and burnt tires.
Mr Odinga’s supporters in Migori protested the presidential poll 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.
Mr Otieno says, “no death or injuries have been reported in Migori thus far”.
Sporadic outpour of anger was reported to be of a higher magnitude in Rongo Sub-County, where a resident, who sought anonymity, said as at Saturday 10:53am, gunshots echoed from Rongo town.
According to Migori County Police Commandant, Joseph Nthenge, “order has since resumed in Rongo town and that police will continue securing the Sub-County, even as they continue to clear roads that had been blocked Friday night using huge stones and tires.”
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 people seen walking 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,” reports Wilkister 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 Mr Odinga stronghold, says the situation is calm despite an earlier “short-lived” element of violence.
“Transport has been paralysed between the usually busy Homa Bay-Rongo road. Huge stones 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
Following the sporadic violence that has imbued parts of the Opposition strongholds, acting Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i, called a presser Saturday afternoon, when he informed Kenyans on security situation in the country.
“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 law enforcers used excessive force on protestors, saying: “I am not aware of any protestor killed by live bullets,” adding: “That is rumour and gossip. Police have not used any disproportionate force against any protestor in the country. The law protects peaceful protestors.”
Reports from different parts of the country suggested that the officers could have used excessive force on demonstrators, which is countering Mr Matiangi’s statement.
“Demonstrations must be carried out peacefully. Enjoyment of these rights must not cause or pose harm to other citizens. Any person who has criminal intent will face the full force of the law,” he said.
President Kenyatta garnered 8,203,290 (54.27%) of the final vote, similar to what he had in a preliminary count. Mr Odinga received 6,762,224 (44.74%).