20 November 2017

Kenya: Mixed Reaction in Nyanza, Western After Uhuru Kenyatta's Court Win

Photo: Nicholas Komu/Daily Nation
President Uhuru Kenyatta's supporters celebrate the Supreme Court's decision to uphold his election on Gakere Road in Nyeri Town on November 20, 2017.

Supreme Court's decision upholding the re-election of President Kenyatta has touched off violent demos in perceived opposition strongholds.

Supporters of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) and its leader Raila Odinga on Monday took to the streets to express their disappointment with the judgment.

DEMOS

The demos turned violent in some parts of Nyanza, Mr Odinga's home turf, and Kibera and Mathare slums in the capital Nairobi.

In Kisumu, a car was set ablaze in Kondele slums moments after chaos broke out in the lakeside city in the wake of the apex court's judgment.

Youths barricaded roads leading into and leaving Kisumu central business district with burning tyres and rocks.

Some were stopping and inspecting public service vehicles for unknown reasons.

They accosted three occupants of a saloon car, beat and mugged them before vandalising and setting the vehicle alight.

The trio ran to the Kondele Police Station to save their lives.

KURIA

Businesses around Kondele and Kibuye closed in a huff out of fear of looting.

Parts of Kisumu CBD were, however, calm after the court's decision.

In Migori county, residents expressed disappointment with the apex court's decision.

They said since they did not cast their ballots in the fresh presidential poll, they will not recognise the administration of Mr Kenyatta.

"We are waiting for our leader Raila Odinga to give us direction...if it will come to secession, then so be it," said John Onyango, a Jua Kali artisan.

A retired civil servant, Mr Barack Otieno, wondered how the divisions in the country will be addressed.

CALM

"Tribalism and hatred are getting entrenched by the day and the two major political divides continues to pull apart," he said.

But most parts of Nyanza and western Kenya were calm as others, perceived to be pro-Jubilee Party, erupted in celebrations.

Scores of residents in Kuria in Migori county, for instance, celebrated the court's verdict.

The residents, most of whom huddled in small groups in market centres, discussed the decision, said they were happy that there will be no other election.

"We will forget about a possibility of another election and move on. We are tired of the incessant politicking. Let Uhuru continue. It is time to move on," said Mr Chacha Burigiri, a resident of Kehancha.

They further called on the opposition leader Raila Odinga to respect the court's decision.

'INJUSTICE'

"We ask Nasa leader Raila Odinga to accept the ruling and allow the country to move on. The current political grandstanding has really affected our economy and now lives are being lost because of chaos. We need to put this behind us," said Ms Robi Jacky, a resident of Kegonga.

However, they are those who were displeased with the judgment, arguing that it has entrenched electoral injustice.

"I am not happy. The October 26 repeat poll was clearly a sham and I expected the Supreme Court to nullify it and give the nation another chance to hold a free and fair poll but this is not to be. Electoral theft has been legitimised," said Mr John Robi Kehaga from Isibania.

In Kakamega, the town remained calm as residents went about their businesses normally.

But celebrations broke out in Mumias East, a Jubilee stronghold, shortly after the court's decision.

KAKEMEGA

Some traders in Kakamega had closed their businesses fearing there would be an outbreak of violence and protests but later re-opened.

There was no heavy presence of security officers on the busy streets as the was the case on September 1.

Western region police chief Moses Ombati said the region was largely peaceful.

"We have not received any reports of protests but our officers are on the alert and closely monitoring the situation," said Mr Ombati.

The busy Kakamega main county market and the bus terminus were bustling with activity as residents went about their businesses.

VIHIGA

Vihiga County, the home of Nasa principal Musalia Mudavadi, also remained largely calm.

Businesses in Mbale, Majengo and Luanda remained open as normalcy prevailed.

A spot check by the Nation revealed people went on with their activities as usual.

Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi, who had called for calm before the decision, later said the country was going through tough times.

"Transmission of results was manipulated. We will soldier on with liberation calls," said Mr Agoi.

"We have our plan to redeem and reclaim our country. We want to restore electoral justice."

More follows.

Reported by Rushdie Oudia, Vivere Nandiemo, Derick Luvega and Elisha Otieno.

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