Teargas as Kenya police seal off grounds ahead of opposition rally

Tuesday November 28 2017

jacaranda grounds

Nasa supporters lit bonfires and used rocks to block Outer Ring Road after being barred from entering Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi on November 28, 2017. PHOTO | DAVID MWERE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAILY NATION
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Police in Kenya were Tuesday morning battling to stop a planned opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) prayer rally at the Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi.

The officers, in full anti-riot gear, threw teargas everywhere, including residential estates, and beat up whoever they came across.

They started by sealing off the venue before unleashing their arsenal on a group of youths who were marching to the grounds.

Even before the running battles started, a close look at the venue indicated that the prayer service for victims of police brutality, which was to be led by Mr Raila Odinga, was doomed.

On the night before the rally, unknown people ferried and dumped raw sewage on the spot where dais was to be erected.

Nasa has organised a memorial to remember victims of police brutality during the electioneering period.

Mr Odinga, his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, Siaya Senator James Orengo and other Nasa leaders were expected to address the rally.

The clash between police and Nasa supporters comes after Nairobi County Police Commander Japhet Koome warned the opposition against holding the meeting.

On Sunday, Mr Koome denied knowledge of the Nasa event and, a day later, vowed not to allow it, saying the only major public event that would take place in Nairobi on Tuesday would be President Kenyatta's swearing-in.

But Nasa co-principal Moses Wetang'ula on Monday dismissed Mr Koome's claims.

“We are planning prayers for our supporters who were shot dead during protests. We will also fundraise for the victims’ families so that they can hold a befitting send-off for their loved ones,” Mr Wetang'ula said.

The Jacaranda meeting was a culmination of a series of memorial services held in other parts of the country.

Mr Odinga, who pulled out of the October 26 repeat presidential election, has vowed not to recognise Mr Kenyatta’s presidency despite the Supreme Court upholding the Jubilee leader's 98 percent-of-votes-cast win.

All Nasa leaders turned down President Kenyatta’s swearing-in invitation, with Mr Odinga terming it "a feast" as other Kenyans "mourn".