African Press International (API)

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Kenya: Chaos slowly uprooting peace in Kisumu

Posted by African Press International on November 4, 2012

  • By  Dickens Wasonga,
Relative calm has  returned to Kisumu City after days of  violent riots by angry protesters who trooped to the streets demonstrating against  the killing of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party  chairman Shem Onyango Kwega by armed assailants  on Monday.
But even as uneasy calm  was restored, Raila Odinga‘s ODM party which still enjoys  huge following in the country  was calling on the government  to conclusively investigate the motive of the killings and immediately bring to book those who are suspected to have gunned down Kwega, who was a prominent businessman and an influential Nyanza politician.
The party’s Secretary General Prof Peter Anyang’ Nyongo‘ while addressing a press conference in Nairobi after the Monday incident  described the slain politician as a hard-working official whose invaluable contributions as the ODM chairman for  Kisumu Town West constituency  will be greatly missed.
The Monday morning shooting  sparked off violent  protests throughout the town paralyzing business and transport activities as his supporters and angry residents stormed Kisumu Central police division demanding immediate transfer of police chiefs in the City accusing them of laxity.
However  the two-day protests ended tragically with three people amongst them two women being  burnt to death. The deceased persons reportedly sheltered at the shop   to escape the wrath of anti riot policemen  who descended on the demonstrators with batons and lobbying teargas canisters to quell the violent riots.
The fire at the shop which left the three dead was said to have been started by the police teargas but the authorities were quick to dismiss this assertion claiming it could have been as a result of an electrical fault.
Several people believed to have been shot by the police during the riots were said to be  receiving treatment  in various hospitals within the town where they were admitted.
The slain  politician and his wife Rose Onyango were accosted by two-gun men in their youths who blocked their  car  just moments after a breakfast meeting at a Kisumu hotel along Nyerere road at around 10 am.
The daring gangsters used a motorbike to lay the ambush but later  took  off in an escape car which they hijacked from a nearby car wash after the attack.
According to the police, Kwega was fatally shot twice on the head from close range and another bullet fired by his attackers pierced through his chest. His wife was also shot in the chest while trying to shield her husband and is currently fighting for her life at Aga khan hospital in Kisumu.
While those protesting the killing termed it an assassination, the police has dismissed the theory claiming it was purely a criminal attack.
Nyanza police boss Joseph Oletito yesterday  dispelled the rumors of a possible assassination attack saying the two gangsters made away with sh 1.2 million from the victims.
He said  the police were pursuing the assailants and promised that  soon they would be arrested . But new wave of attacks and violent crime has left every Kisumu resident worried stiff.
In a span of less than a month, over five people have  reportedly been  killed by armed criminals who appears to have taken over control of the city literally with most people wondering whether the police are overwhelmed.
A security guard was found dead at the Kisumu’s SDA Victory church last week. The police said an estimated sh 200,000 offertory and other church valuables was stolen.
The same day , a pupil was found murdered and a headless  body dumped at one of the estates in the City a few meters away from the church where the guard was killed in cold blood.
Reports of yet another chilling attack was made in the City when  a top HIV and AIDS researcher at  Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) was hacked to death as he tried to gain access to his  Tom Mboya residence.
And Kisumu continued to record deaths occasioned by criminals when a director of a security firm was reportedly waylaid and killed last night near  Uzima University College.
It is shocking that despite the increased attacks by armed criminals, the police who appears to have been caught napping are yet to nab any of the suspects reigning terror on the lives of innocent tax payers of the beautiful lake side City.

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