An armed group on Monday invaded a vast property owned by the family of former Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi on the Eastern Bypass.
The protesters, who were chanting Mau Mau slogans, could be heard saying that they too are Kenyans and deserve to own land just like the Kenyatta family.
When Nation reporters arrived at the scene a few minutes to 2pm, scores of people had already gained access to the property. Most of them were armed with crude weapons including freshly sharpened machetes and clubs. They could be seen carting away farm animals like sheep.
Nation crime reporter Steve Otieno was roughed up by the gang when they realised he was a journalist reporting the story of the invasion. They tore up his clothes and stole his phone.
Later, a camera crew from NTV that arrived in the area suffered the same fate as their vehicle was stoned by the violent looters.
The gang also burnt trees and bushes. Guards employed to take care of the land watched from a distance as the drama unfolded.
When the Nation team was leaving the scene it spotted a number of public service vehicles parked along Mwihoko-Githurai road, and was told by witnesses that the looters had arrived in them. Near the vehicles were two armed police officers. However, they did not intervene to stop the looting.
Similarly, unknown vandals stormed the East Africa Spectre Limited which is associated with opposition leader Raila Odinga, the firm’s security boss Humphrey Waswa said in a statement on Monday.
The attack on the Odinga family-owned gas cylinder manufacturer came at around the same time as the raid on Kenyatta's land.
East Africa Spectra, located on Road C in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, manufactures and distributes gas cylinders in Kenya and the region.
“At around 11.40am today in the morning, a group of around 50 people on motorbikes came around and attacked us and they were being supported by four unmarked vehicles. We suspect that their target was on our managing director because her office is the one that has been damaged,” said Mr Waswa.
Mr Waswa said the vandals destroyed the property of unknown value and pelted the firm’s managing director’s office with rocks. The opposition chief’s wife Ida Odinga is the company’s MD.
The security manager said the police responded swiftly and warded off the attackers.
On Sunday, police officers banned the demonstrations called by the opposition. Japheth Koome, the Inspector-General of Police, said Mr Odinga had not been granted permission to hold the protests.
“I ask all Kenyans to go on with their business as usual. We are out to ensure more officers are stationed in different parts of the city to deal with any chaos,” Mr Koome said.
He noted that police officers would not bow to intimidation and would instead work hard to keep the environment conducive for business.
Mr Koome accused the opposition of causing chaos, arguing there are other ways to have their grievances addressed.
After holding what he described as successful protests across the country on March 20, Mr Odinga announced he will lead Kenyans in nationwide demonstrations every Monday and Thursday.
The anti-government protests on Monday entered the second week as the opposition calls for the State to reduce the cost of living and push the electoral commission to open the election servers.
Allies of the ruling part UDA have in recent days accused former President of sponsoring the ongoing protests.
- Nation Africa and Business Daily