Opposition supporters stage anti-IEBC demos in Nairobi, Kisumu

Tuesday September 26 2017

Supporters of the opposition Kenya's National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition take part in a demonstration against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on September 26, 2017 in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | SIMON MAINA


Kenya opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters have staged demos in some parts of the country to force out electoral commission officials accused of bungling August 8 presidential election.

In western town of Kisumu, one of Nasa’s perceived strongholds, some residents marched to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices on Tuesday morning.

They demanded the resignation of the commission’s top officials, including Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba.

They accused Mr Chiloba and his group of conspiring to interfere with last month’s presidential election that was quashed by the Supreme Court.

The protesters carrying twigs, honking motorbike horns, wailing uncontrollably and carrying banners started on Obote Road, walked to Oginga Odinga Street before heading to Kenyatta Highway and Ang’awa Avenue in the centre of town.


Nasa supporters protest in the streets of Kisumu on September 26, 2017. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Local IEBC officials in Kisumu were not the target, at least since presidential election results in the county were not a subject of controversy.

The demos were led by local Member of County Assemblies including Joachim Oketch (Kondele), Seth Kanga (Milimani Market), Jacktone Ogendo (Nyalenda A) and Vincent Arao (Railways).


Nasa supporters march in the streets of Kisumu on September 26, 2017. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, only punctuated by motorbike riders performing acrobatic skits, a man of two walking shirtless as well as banners with messages written in a dripping font.

Some of the banners read “ Chiloba must go”, others read “no reforms no elections” yet another said “IEBC must go.”


Nasa supporters walk to IEBC offices in Kisumu on September 26, 2017. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Plainclothes police officers looked on as businesses went uninterrupted in a town that has borne the brunt of violent protests in the past.

Supermarkets remained open as  banks and  restaurants served their clients.


The demos interrupted business in Nairobi. This Airtel shop on Koinange Street was closed for several hours. PHOTO | DAVID MWERE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Hawkers and open-air markets also went about their businesses uninterrupted.


In Nairobi, protesters gathered outside IEBC headquarters as early as 10am as they waved placards and shouted "Chiloba Must Go".   



Nasa supporters march past City Hall as they head to Uhuru Park. PHOTO | BRIAN MOSETI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A passing stranger who expressed his displeasure with the demonstration was almost mobbed by a section of the crowd and police had to calm the crowd.

"We are a working nation, we can't be stopping our livelihoods to come protest. I oppose this demo," the man was heard saying.


A Nasa supporter demonstrates in the streets of Kisumu. They later stormed IEBC offices. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By 12pm, the number of protesters in the city Central Business District had increased to hundreds.


Nasa supporters marched through the CBD to Uhuru Park where they were to be addressed by their leaders before leaving.

At the same time, a different group claiming to be the Nairobi Business Community arrived outside anniversary Towers, shouting "We want peace".


Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o joins demos in the lakeside town. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The two groups clashed, with rocks flying from either side of the divide.

Police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse the two rival groups.