21 March 2016

Kenya: Politicians Not Spared As Police Disperse Demonstrators

Kitui Senator and a host of Members of Parliament were on Monday forced to flee for their lives when police used tear gas to disperse a demonstrators who protesting the poor condition of roads in the region.

The politicians from Makueni, Machakos and Kitui counties led by Senator David Musila had mobilised residents to pour protest on Kibwezi-Kitui road on the outskirts of Kibwezi Town.

They were pressing the government to tarmac the 116 kilometre Class B road that they claimed had been sidelined by the Jubilee administration.

"The national government has deliberately turned a blind eye on this important road to punish the Kamba community," Kitui Senator David Musila said while addressing the demonstrators at Kalamba village, seven kilometers from Kibwezi Town, where the demonstration was planned to end.

He said that he was aware that in 2011 the government set aside funds and a contract awarded to a Chinese contractor but could not understand why the road was yet to be constructed.

According to Mr Musila, the government in 2011 duped the then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to parade the Chinese contractor and his machinery to area residents at a ceremony that took place in Kibwezi Town.

"It is clear that the government is not willing to tarmac this road and we shall come back here on a monthly basis until this road is tarmacked," Mr Musila said.

As the demonstrators were heading back to Kibwezi Town where the leaders were to address a public rally, a contingent of Regular and Administration Police clad in anti-riot gear descended on them and lobbed tear gas canisters at them.

One of the tear gas canisters hit Senator Musila on his feet and just like the MPs, MCAs and other demonstrators, he had to dash and hide in the neighboring farms and to avoid chocking from the cloud of tear gas.

Police barricaded the road to deny the demonstrators access to Kibwezi Town and Mombasa Road by extension, and used batons and tear gas to engage them in running battles.

At one point, they lobbed three tear gas canisters at Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu who was addressing the press protesting against the "excessive use of force" by the police.

"We had duly informed the police about this peaceful demonstration and we even avoided blocking Mombasa Road. We do not understand why this excessive use of force," Ms Mbalu said.

Kitui East MP Mutua Muluvi called on the national government to sack Kibwezi OCPD and the area District Criminal Investigation Officer "within seven days."

Otherwise, he said: "it would be a clear manifestation that they were working under instructions by the Jubilee administration."

Kenya

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