African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

If attacks continue, a way will open for Kibaki to postpone the elections for one year

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2007

“Kenya’s hotly contested presidential and parliamentary elections may be postponed if campaigning brews violence as has now been demonstrated. Kibaki may decide to take the opportunity and postpone the elections. That will give the president time to tune the newly registered PANU party in order to have a good machinery that will ensure success in December 2008 if he chooses to have elections in one year’s time. – API*APN editorial)”.

Publication Date: 9/23/2007

Fifteen people were yesterday injured when violent protests broke out in some parts of the country in the aftermath of Fridays attack on Opposition leaders at a harambee hosted by Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae.

Police escort Sotik MP Mr Anthony Kimeto (right) away from a hostile crowd in Sotik town. Photo/SOLLO KIRAGU

Police shot in the air several times and lobbed tear gas to disperse rowdy crowds in Kisii and Sotik towns following the protests staged to denounce the attack on Mr William Ruto, Mr Omingo Magara, Mr Chris Obure and Mr Chris Bichage during the Friday incident. Ten people were arrested.

Investigating the incident

Internal Security Minister John Michuki, who spoke from his Kangema constituency, said police were investigating the incident and that he would not pass any judgement against his Cabinet colleague.

The protests spread to Kericho, Eldoret and Nairobi where three students in a demonstration were arrested.

And Sotik MP Anthony Kimetto was stoned by rowdy youths in his constituency as he joined nominated MP Kipkalya Kones who was addressing a meeting to calm the tension.

As the protests were going on, Mr Ruto and Mr Magara called a news conference at the Nairobi Hospital to say they had forgiven Mr Nyachae and called for calm among the neighbouring communities.

Youths armed with bows and arrows descended on the ODM leaders after disembarking from a helicopter in Nyamarambe in Gucha where Mr Nyachae had a harambee for youths in Mr Magaras South Mugirango constituency.

Leaders continued to condemn the Friday incident, with Mr Kones calling for the ministers arrest. Speaking from Kakamega ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga also called for the arrest of Mr Nyachae. In Nairobi police dispersed over 20 students from Kenyatta and Nairobi universities demonstrating from the Nairobi Hospital. Carrying an empty coffin, they wailed, sang dirges and chanted anti-Nyachae slogans.

In Sotik, several buses and matatus headed to Kisii from Nairobi were escorted to a police station for safety of passengers. Some shops were broken into and goods looted.

Some residents in Sotik fearing they were targeted fled to the local police station while others sought safety in the neighbouring Nyamira District.

At Litein trading centre, police lobbed tear gas canisters at rowdy youths who had mounted road blocks along the Kericho-Kaplong highway. Business premises at Ngoina, Litein, and Kapkatet were closed, with the owners seeking refuge at the local police station. In the morning, vehicles heading to Nairobi and Nakuru from Kisii were stopped by the rowdy youths at Sotik.

Passengers were forced to alight and seek alternative means to their destinations. Following the tension, Buret district commissioner Kutswa Olaka yesterday addressed rallies in the affected areas and asked the local communities to be calm.

ODM-Kenya presidential candidate Kalonzo Musyoka suggested that all presidential aspirants should assure Kenyans they will restrain their supporters from engaging in campaign violence.

Mr Musyoka further demanded that the candidates condemn all forms of violence and not only when it is directed at them.

He was himself heckled by ODM youths in Busia on Friday.

Mr Musyoka promised to seek a meeting with President Kibaki and Mr Odinga once Parliament is dissolved so that they can collectively assure Kenyans they will control their supporters.

In Kericho, Mr Kones, who is a former ally of Mr Nyachae, blamed the minister for the violence in South Mugirango.

He said the Government should arrest Mr Nyachae the same way Health minister Charity Ngilu was arrested for assisting a suspect to flee from police custody.

In Nyamira, former permanent secretary James Ongwae, Kitutu Masaba ODM official Timothy Bosire, Nyaribari Masabas George Anunda and youth leader Don Bosco Gichana asked leaders to refrain from acts of violence in the electioneering period. In Migori town, Muslim leaders condemned the attack on ODM leaders and asked the Government to apprehend the assailants.

Free traffic flow

Meanwhile, East African Cooperation minister John Koech called for peace and free flow of traffic from Kisii to Nairobi through Sotik. In Kisii, police broke a peaceful demonstration by ODM supporters. Two people injured in the incident were admitted to Kisii district hospital.

The demonstration started at the Kisii-Kisumu-Isebania junction about four kilometres from the town. Police in anti-riot gear dispersed the demonstrators as they approached Kisii police station chanting anti-Nyachae slogans. The demonstrators were led by politicians Kerosi Ondieki, Ben Mogaka, Harun Bogita and John Obwocha.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN

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