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Looting as Nasa's anti-IEBC demos turn ugly in Nyanza

by 06/10/2017 06:53:00 0 comments 1 Views
By NATION TEAM
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Nasa protesters on Friday left a trail of destruction in Kisumu after taking to the streets to push for reforms at the electoral commission.

The demonstrators broke into and looted Tumaini Supermarket and vandalized water pipes belonging to Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (Kiwasco).

The protesting youth broke the windows and main entrance of the supermarket, attacked staff before looting.

Security guards told the Nation the looters carried away computer monitors from the point of sale and stock, including chairs from the supermarket’s café.

The vandals who broke Kiwasco water pipes affected water supply to more than six estates of the lakeside town.

Kisumu is one of Kenyan towns that face acute water shortage despite the fact that it is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world.

nasa demos kisumuProtestors take bath using water from one of the pipes that were broken by vandals along Oginga-Odinga Street in Kisumu. PHOTO JUSTUS OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In a statement to its customers, Kiwasco said water supply had been stopped to Tom Mboya, CBD, Milimani, Migosi, Nyawita, Lolwe Migosi and Mamboleo.

“Our water lines have been destroyed and it is the reason we have shut down the lines to avoid further wastage of the commodity,” the company said.

The destruction saw the police abandon their watch-and-see approach and take on the demonstrators.

The officers used teargas and water cannons to disperse the protesters, who responded with rocks.

The chaos brought business to a standstill as traders closed shops out of fear of looting.

In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti was among demonstrators teargassed as protests against the IEBC turned chaotic.

His Deputy Hamilton Orata was clobbered by the police after protests turned violent.

Mr Awiti and his county executive for finance were whisked to safety by his security team, but they had already been choked by the first round of canisters hurled at them.

Mr Awiti had led the protesters to gain access into the compound of IEBC offices in Homa Bay Town. But Homa Bay Police Boss Essau Ochorokodi had earlier warned the protesters that no violent protests would be tolerated in the town.

"We cannot allow demonstrators to stage protests aimed at causing violence," said Mr Ochorokodi.

Mr Awiti later accused the police officers of using excessive force in handling the protesters whom he described as peaceful. 

"It is wrong for police to use excessive force against harmless protesters. We shall seek redress with the county commandant and county commissioner over actions of the police," he said.

Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata said he they shall continue with the protests on Monday.

"We shall continue with the protests until IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba resigns from the commission," said Mr Chiloba.

In Busia town, rowdy Nasa-affiliated youths lobbed teargas at the police, sparking running battles, in a classic case of reversed roles.

The showdown lasting more than two hours saw demonstrators paralyse transport in the border town while businessmen had to shut down their shops for the remaining half of the day.

A shoe shiner’s stand was set ablaze near Busia County Assembly before the police confronted the protestors.

And when they did, they were met with teargas.

It was still undetermined where the protesters got the noxious gas, but it is suspected they may have picked up those hurled by police but failed go off in previous demos.

Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga and Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, who led the demos alongside Burumba Ward MCA Moses Ouma and his Nangina counterpart John Obwogo, vowed to include Wednesday in their protests. 

“We will not relent to agitate for reforms at IEBC. We will not allow repeat of presidential election without complete overhaul of IEBC,” said Odanga.

“From next week we will have demonstrations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.” 

The politicians led the youth in a street march from Legio, about three kilometres from Busia-Uganda border, to Matayos Constituency IEBC offices, chanting and carrying “Chiloba must go” placards.

Security was tight at the agency, forcing the demonstrators back in the streets where they lobbed a teargas at police near county commander’s offices.

Reported by Justus Ochieng, Benson Amadala, Gaitano Pesa and Elisha Otieno.

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