Kenya opposition leader Raila calls strike as uneasy calm returns

Monday August 14 2017

Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses his supporters in Mathare, Nairobi, where he had gone to console the family of a 10-year-old girl who was shot dead by a stray police bullet. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


An uneasy calm on Sunday settled on parts of Nairobi and the western city Kisumu which had been hit by post-election protests even as normality returned to many parts of the country.

As businesses contemplated opening on Monday, Kenya opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga called on supporters to boycott work to protest what he said was the stealing of the election and a heavy-handed police crackdown on protesters.

In Kisumu, governor-elect Anyang’ Nyong’o asked protesters to leave the streets and go back to business, saying a solution is being sought for the election dispute.           

In Nairobi, outgoing governor Evans Kidero made a similar call, asking city residents to remain peaceful and tolerant as leaders worked on a solution to their election complaint.

Protests broke out after incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of the August 8 election with 54 per cent of the vote. Nasa has rejected the outcome and accused Jubilee of rigging.

On Sunday, Mr Odinga said he would announce his next course of action on Tuesday.


READ: Uhuru Kenyatta wins Kenya election

Election results

Deputy President William Ruto and State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu urged Kenyans to go back to work Monday after the elections, which they described as peaceful and fair.

In Kibra Constituency, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Mr Odinga, who was coming out for the first time after the declaration of the presidential election results, said the opposition alliance would release its own results on Tuesday.

Speaking at Kamukunji Grounds, Mr Odinga insisted that he had won the elections but was rigged out just like the previous elections of 2007 and 2013.

The ODM leader had gone to the Kibera slum to express sympathy with the people who have been battling with the police since Friday.

He later visited Mathare slum to console the family whose 10-year-old daughter was killed by a stray bullet.

On Friday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared Mr Kenyatta winner with 8.2 million votes against Mr Odinga’s 6.8 million.

Election petition

Nasa won 18 gubernatorial seats, 20 senatorial, 108 MPs and 16 woman reps compared to ruling Jubilee’s party with 25 governors, 18 senators, 138 MPs and 25 woman reps.

Unless an election petition is filed to challenge his victory, Mr Kenyatta will be sworn in on August 29.

He is scheduled to address a special sitting of Parliament the same day.

The opposition, which has previously grounded its platform on democratic credentials — including press freedom — and a good relationship with the international community, launched an attack on the media, accusing it of not telling the truth, and foreign partners whom it told to stay away from local issues.

“Tomorrow (Monday) there is no going to work, wait until Tuesday when I will give directions,” said Mr Odinga.

He also condemned police brutality and killings in Kibera and Mathare slums, saying that Nasa leaders had been aware of plans to do so before the election.

READ: Kenya protests: Death, chaos as protesters clash with police

Blood shed

“They have stolen our votes and they still come to kill our people. What happened in Kibera, Mathare and other places we foresaw three weeks ago... I want to tell Jubilee that they shed blood of innocent people and they will have to pay for the blood,” he warned.

Mr Odinga was accompanied by MPs-elect Ken Okoth (Kibra), James Orengo (Siaya senator), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Millie Odhiambo (Mbita), Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Elisha Odhiambo (Gem).

However, his co-principals, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Moses Wetang’ula and Mr Isaac Ruto did not attend the rally.

Mr Orengo took a swipe at the local media, accusing them of failing to report the truth.

Later in the day, Mr Esipisu said the elections were over and urged Kenyans to go back to work.

He said the results of the presidential results had already been gazetted and urged wananchi (citizens) to unite.

READ: Raila: I am disappointed with Kerry, poll observers


“It is now time for all of us to move forward in nation-building activities aimed at achieving prosperity and development for the country. It’s time to get back to work and move Kenya forward,” he said in a statement.

Mr Esipisu also warned that police would not allow violent protests. He said the government would protect wananchi and their property.

He regretted that the lives of some Kenyans had been cut short and property destroyed in the protests, which took place in Nairobi’s Kibra and Mathare and in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori towns.

“We have seen violent protests, in which property has been damaged and lives have been endangered.

The violent protests are unlawful, so let me be perfectly clear here: the Police will not tolerate breaches of the peace; instead, they will protect the lives and property of Kenyans; and they will restore law and order,” he said. He also asked the youth not be incited into taking part in violence.

People killed

Nasa has claimed that 100 people have been killed in the clashes between its supporters and the police. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) placed the figure at 24.

On Tuesday, however, police insisted that only six people, whom they described as criminals, had been killed.

At the Faith Evangelical Ministry in the uptown suburb Karen, Deputy President William Ruto reached out to election losers in Jubilee and Nasa, asking them to forge a common front in ensuring the unity of the country.

He asked Kenyans to respect the outcome of the election that saw him and President Uhuru Kenyatta re-elected.

“This has been the most peaceful, most issue-based and least ethnic election I have ever participated in. We had the face of Kenya in both Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (Nasa).

On August 8 we went to perform our godly and constitutional duty to vote for the leaders of our country.

It does not matter how you voted, it does not matter who you voted for. Today we are all winners because we have leaders in our country,” he said.

READ: Uhuru’s second term off to a rocky start

Civil servants

On Thursday last week, the government directed all civil servants to return to work on Friday, saying that delivery of public services should not be disrupted.

The circular was signed by the Head of Civil Service and the President’s Chief of Staff, Mr Joseph Kinyua.

In Kibera yesterday, Mr Orengo said Nasa leaders had information about police who have been trained to kill demonstrators.

According to him, the officers were dressing like Mungiki sect members while committing atrocities.

“We know the police who have been trained to kill people. They dress like Mungiki to confuse the people,” said Mr Orengo.


He reiterated the claim that Mr Odinga’s votes were stolen and the opposition was ready to provide evidence on how the scheme was carried out.

“From tomorrow we are going to show the rule of the Constitution through the people. I am urging you not to stay behind,” he said.

In Mathare, Mr Odinga repeated his call on his supporters to boycott work today.

“They think they can steal our victory. We refuse. Jubilee must go home,” said Mr Odinga.

“Everyone should stay calm until Tuesday and then we will issue a statement”.

 Reports by Samwel Owino, Collins Omulo and Kennedy Kimanthi

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