Kenya: Nasa Supporters Back in the Streets for Anti-IEBC Demos

Nasa supporters demonstrate in the streets of Homa Bay town on October 9, 2017.
9 October 2017

Supporters of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) on Monday returned to the streets as the opposition stepped up its push for reforms at the electoral commission ahead of repeat presidential election.

They protested in the capital Nairobi, Lamu, Kisumu, Kakamega, Homa Bay and Mombasa on Monday morning, heeding the call of the leaders to protest thrice a week— on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

CHILOBA

The demonstrators said they want the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reformed, and its CEO Ezra Chiloba and 10 other officials accused of bungling August 8 poll shown the door.

The opposition, led by Raila Odinga, wants both systems and personnel changes at the commission, including the dropping of Dubai-based ballots printer Al Ghurair and technology supplier OT-Morpho of France.

In Nairobi, Nasa supporters turned out in large numbers for the demonstrations.

They were led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga.

Unlike last week, the supporters held peaceful demonstrations with police not interfering.

DEMANDS

They first met at Central Park before marching to IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers.

Outside Anniversary Towers, police maintained law and order and did not interfere with the protesters.

Mr Orengo, while addressing Nasa, maintained that the opposition would not back down on their irreducible minimums, referring to the reforms they want effected.

"We will only participate in an election where we know the outcome will be free and fair,” he said.

"President Kenyatta should know that we are ready to face him but not with Chiloba in office.”

Former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama said Nasa is ready for elections but after reforms have been carried out at IEBC.

KISUMU

In Kisumu, transport was paralysed and businesses closed in some parts of the lake-side town out of fear of looting.

The youths chanting anti-IEBC slogans lit bonfires and barricaded the roads using rocks and burning tyres.

Business owners and traders Homa Bay town and Kisumu kept off their premises following the fresh wave of protests.

The protesters poured in to the streets, burning tyres, carrying twigs and placards, and honking horns as they marched towards IEBC offices.

Kisumu Woman Rep Rosa Buyu and MPs James Nyikal (Seme), Onyango Koyoo (Muhoroni) and Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) and several MCAs led the demos in the lakeside county.

Anti-riot police officers have begun patrolling the town to battle the protesters.

In Migori, shops and offices remained shut as protestors ran riot in the town.

TEARGAS

While some residents joined the protesters in denouncing the elections body, others opted to stay at home.

IEBC’s offices in county remained closed, with only security officers guarding the compound.

Anti -riot police escorted the demonstrators in the streets even as Nasa supporters demanded to be tear- gassed.

"We will provoke them later to hurl teargas at us...they can't just escort us peacefully like this," said Mr John Onyango, one of the protesters.

Migori County Assembly Speaker Boaz Okoth and Majority Leader Malan Ogega led the demos.

The residents later conducted a mock burial of Mr Chiloba.

"We will continue to press for reforms at the IEBC, come rain or sunshine," said Mr Okoth.

In Nyamira, dozens of youth and boda boda operators took part in the protests.

They walked while others rode through the streets calling for Mr Chiloba’s exit.

Group leader Denis Marube described Mr Chiloba as  “stumbling block to credible and fair elections”.

He said the protests would continue until their demands are met by the electoral agency.

"From here, we remain   steadfast with one call that ‘Chiloba must go’ if Kenyans are to have a properly organised poll," said Mr Marube.

Reported by Samuel Owino, Barack Oduor, Nelcon Odhiambo, Magati Obebo, and Elisha Otieno.

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