NASA asks supporters to avoid engaging cops

NASA co-chairmen James Orengo and Johnstone Muthama look at one of the cartilages displayed by Kibra MP Ken Okoth addressing the press on the on-going killings by the police. This was at Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington, Nairobi. ON 12/08/2017(Jenipher Wachie)

Opposition leaders have appealed to their supporters to avoid confrontations with security forces, saying the ongoing standoff is likely to lead to more deaths.

The National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders said several of its supporters had been killed in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori and parts of Nairobi and called for an end to skirmishes between them and the police.

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga chaired a meeting of the NASA summit to deliberate on the aftermath of the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election and the violence that followed the Friday night announcement.

Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang'ula, Musalia Mudavadi and their top strategists held a four-hour meeting at the Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington, Nairobi, where they resolved to issue a statement.

However the summit leaders skipped the Press conference as they left before the presser that NASA had convened and instead delegated the role to NASA coordinating committee co-chaired by Senators James Orengo and Johnstone Muthama, who asked their supporters to be patient and wait for directions from their leadership.

Muthama said the violence being meted out on the defenceless citizens in their residential areas is intended to subjugate the will of the people and NASA into submission.

"The NASA leadership will communicate our next course of action at the appropriate time. For now, we appeal to our supporters and Kenyans at large to stay out of harm's way," he said.

The leaders claimed that over 100 people had been killed in their strongholds, saying the operation had hallmarks of a military exercise. However the State agency, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) placed the death toll at 24.

"We know for a fact that the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiang'i and the police command had agreed on a shoot-to-kill response to protests by NASA supporters following the announcement of sham election results.

"At least 100 people have been killed, 10 of them children. The police have also ferried bodies away in body bags to hide evidence of unfolding brutality," Muthama said.

Orengo added: "There was a military unit that was trained to deal with an operation before and after elections. What we are witnessing bears the hallmark of this elite unit."


Kibra MP Ken Okoth lamented that his constituency had been placed under a blockade and that the police had prevented them from accessing the area to address residents.

The MP displayed several spent cartridges during the press conference while accusing security forces of using live ammunition on unarmed residents.

"I went with a delegation of about 40 NASA leaders who included governors, senators and MPs to ask our people to keep peace. We were turned away very brutally. We are now telling our people, do not compete with those people (police) since they have means to kill you. Just stay out of the harm's way," Okoth said.

The MP said it appeared his constituents were targetted by the State for backing the Opposition in last week's presidential poll.

"I know that Kibra heavily voted for NASA and I am saying please do not punish us for the way we voted," he said.

The leaders took issue with a statement by Matiang'i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett who said the country is calm except Mathare, Kibra and Kisumu. They said this amounts to profiling and isolating some areas as though they are not part of Kenya.

NASA reiterated that it will not dispute the presidential results in court but refused to divulge the options that the Opposition has.

"We wish to assure the people that we have the will, the determination and the means to make sure your vote counts. We shall do so. The culture of stealing elections with impunity every five years must end," Muthama said.

When asked what the options were and whether it meant heading to court, Orengo replied: "We are going to the court of public opinion, not a court of law."

Asked if that meant a round of mass action, the Siaya senator said the Opposition cannot stop its supporters from venting their anger in the streets but it is advising them to stay out of the harm's way.

Earlier, Okoth and Rarieda MP-elect Otiende Amolo said the State must stop using excessive force on unarmed protesters, maintaining that the constitutional right of Kenyans to demonstrate should be respected.

"We beseech our people to be calm and maintain peace. We also ask the police to stop killing our people," said Okoth's whose Kibra constituents have borne the brunt of the police actions.