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Raila Odinga forced to flee as rowdy youths disrupt Turkana rally

By Joan Letting and Michael Ollinga | Published Sat, February 18th 2017 at 00:00, Updated February 18th 2017 at 00:01 GMT +3
Raila Odinga was whisked away to a helicopter by his security detail and he headed for another rally at Lokichar in Turkana South. (Photo: Kipsang Joseph/Standard)

Armed youths disrupted CORD leader Raila Odinga’s rally in Turkana County Friday as he began a three-day campaign tour of the region.

The group stormed the meeting at Katilia in Turkana East and started chanting anti-ODM slogans before gun shots rent the air.

The Opposition leader was whisked away to a helicopter by his security detail and he headed for another rally at Lokichar in Turkana South.

The ODM leader claimed the youths were armed with guns and stones and shot at the crowd. “We were with Nanok in Katilia when a leader incited the youth who came with firearms and stones. They shot at the crowd. They were shooting at the crowd while the police tried to disperse them by shooting in the air. They were saying that they do not want the baraza to go on. It is stupid to disrupt people’s meetings and cause chaos,” Raila said at Lokichar.

But Turkana Central OCPD Kirui Kipkemoi denied claims the youths shot at the crowds, saying it was the security detail of the VIPs who shot in the air to disperse the youths. The meeting had just started when the rowdy youths arrived.

“The security detail were forced to shoot in the air to disperse the rowdy youths. The youth ran away. The VIPs were then escorted to the helicopter for their safety,” the OCPD said.

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Raila was accompanied by Governor Josphat Nanok and Turkana Central MP Lodepe Nakara, who ditched Jubilee for ODM.

Raila and Nanok accused Turkana East MP Nicholas Ngikor of being behind the chaos, saying it will not dampen the Opposition’s resolve to campaign in the area.

“We will not be shaken. We will not be intimidated. We will protect our county. We will protect the people’s rights. We will not allow other people to threaten us. We will move to other parts of the county without fear to meet and talk with our people,” Nanok said.

But Ng’ikor dismissed claims he was behind the incident, saying he was not around when it occurred. “Who is accusing me of inciting the youth? I was not even there. I am just getting the reports just like everyone else. If they have evidence, they should go and report the matter formally to the police,”  Ng’ikor told The Standard On Saturday.

Other sources claimed that a group of 15 armed youths stormed the rally and shot sporadically in the air, as the crowd scampered for safety.

Ngikor, his Loima counterpart Protus Akuja and Turkana Senator John Munyes ditched Ford Kenya to join the Jubilee Party last year. While addressing another rally later, Raila accused the Jubilee administration of overlooking warnings raised by the Meteorological Department over the drought, leading to starvation and loss of livestock.

“We advised the Government to purchase livestock before the drought sets in and acquire sufficient relief food and put in place a distribution structure but nothing was done. The drought situation was only declared a national disaster after many people were severely hurt just because the Government was denying it was incapable of handling the situation,” Raila said.

Raila said in the four years the Jubilee government has been in power, it had failed to implement a plan to distribute the huge volumes of underground water discovered at the Lotikipi aquifer.

He claimed some local leaders were denying Opposition supporters relief food.

“It is sad that some Jubilee MPs working with administration officers are keeping relief food in their houses instead of getting it to the starving people. They are using the supplies as a votes’ bait by blackmailing citizens who support the Opposition. Our supporters in Turkana East are the greatest casualties of this barbaric behaviour,” Raila said.

During the rally in Lokichar, the Opposition leader received Turkana Central MP Lodepe Nakara who was elected on a United Republican Party in 2013 and the 2013 gubernatorial seat runners up Prof Malik Ekal. Raila said the National Super Alliance (NASA) had a comprehensive plan to transform the nation.

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