Home » Kenya Protests Turn Violent Again as Government Vows to ‘halt the Descent’
Global News Government Kenya News Protests

Kenya Protests Turn Violent Again as Government Vows to ‘halt the Descent’

Fresh demonstrations organised on Thursday by opponents of Kenyan President William Ruto were marked again by violent clashes, as stone-throwing protesters battled police and a local office of Ruto’s party was set ablaze.

The previous protest called for by opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday against high living costs and alleged fraud in last year’s election descended into apparent tit-for-tat attacks by both sides and drew pleas from civic leaders for calm.

In the early afternoon, Thursday’s protests were less intense in the capital Nairobi than the previous two days of demonstrations, but they appeared to be heating up by mid-afternoon.

In Mathare, a low-income settlement in Nairobi, protesters used improvised catapults to launch stones at police in riot gear, footage on Kenyan television showed.

Odinga rode through several other Nairobi neighbourhoods in a convoy with other opposition leaders, as hundreds of supporters marched alongside, waving twigs, saucepans and wooden spoons.

The procession was mostly peaceful, a Reuters reporter following it said, but some supporters threw stones at a police station as they passed, leading officers to fire tear gas.


On Monday, a church and a mosque were set ablaze in Nairobi’s low-income Kibera district and properties belonging to Odinga’s family and former president Uhuru Kenyatta, who supported Odinga in the election, were vandalised.

Religious and human rights leaders warned in the aftermath against the kind of ethnic fighting that killed more than 1,000 people following the disputed 2007 election.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki, echoed those concerns in a statement on Wednesday, referring to “ethnically-laced arson” in Kibera.

“We must halt the descent,” he said, vowing that no more violent protests would be tolerated.

Odinga has called for protests to be held every Monday and Thursday.

There were also demonstrations on Thursday in the western city of Kisumu, near Odinga’s ancestral home, where crowds shouted “Baba”, a nickname for Odinga, as they marched.

In the town of Siaya, about 75 km (45 miles) away, the offices of Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party were set ablaze, said Cleophas Malala, the UDA secretary general.

The two sides traded blame.

“Raila Odinga is the one who has burnt that office,” Malala said.

Dennis Onyango, Odinga’s spokesperson, retorted that Malala was engaged in “ethnic profiling” by assuming the attackers were Odinga supporters because they belong to the same ethnic group as him.

Siaya county police commander Michael Nyaga declined to comment on the incident. National police spokesperson Resila Onyango said she would comment later.

The government said on Wednesday that two civilians had been killed and more than 130 people injured, including 51 police officers, in the protests that took place the previous two Mondays.

Odinga, who has run for president five times, challenged Ruto’s victory in last August’s election, but the Supreme Court upheld the result in a unanimous decision.

Source : Market Screener