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Calm returns to Kisumu after two days of police crackdown

By John Oywa | Published Sun, August 13th 2017 at 12:36, Updated August 13th 2017 at 13:26 GMT +3
Police officers along Siaya-Kisumu highway which had been blocked by protestors on August 12 after presidential election results were announced. Photo: Elvis Ogina, Standard

In summary

  • Protests broke out in Kisumu and its environs on Friday night immediately after Uhuru Kenyatta was announced winner of presidential election
  • Despite evidence of people killed and others injured from gun shots, Interior Ministry has denied any form of police brutality
  • On Sunday, residents were slowly resuming their normal activities

An uneasy calm has returned to Kisumu and its environs after two days of destruction of property and heavy police clampdown on residents protesting presidential election results.

The town's Central Business District slowly limped back to life as security officials cleared boulders and burnt tyres from the roads. Tension however continued to hung over residential estates where police have been accused of using excessive force on residents. Many residents who sustained bullet wounds during the police operations were forced to nurse their injuries at home because the on-going nurses’ strike had paralysed medical services in public hospitals. 

Police, armed to the teeth, continued to patrol the streets in what County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said was meant to keep away criminals posing as political activists protesting the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the August 8 election.

"The police are out there to protect innocent Kenyans from hooligans hiding behind political activism. We will continue with the patrols," he said.

He added: “The situation is normalising. I am just appealing to the county government to help us clear the roads because there are tons of debris on our major roads.”

Police disperse protesters at Nyalenda slum in Kisumu County on August 12, a day after the announcement of presidential election winner. Photo: Collins Oduor, Standard

Although some roads leading to and from Kisumu remained impassable by Sunday morning, the rest of the town remained calm. Most churches opened their doors to worshipers.

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The Kibuye open air market, reputed as one of the largest in East Africa, bubbled with activity even though it was operating at half its usual capacity.

Public Transport remained paralysed save for a few public service vehicles at the town's main bus park.

In Towns like Siaya, Bondo, Awendo, Migori, Rongo and Homa bay, small scale traders were counting loses after their kiosks were destroyed by protestors. Traders at the Homa Bay market Sunday woke up to find their stalls burnt down. It was not yet clear what caused the inferno as families whose loved ones were injured by police demanded explanation from Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i over the police brutality.

"I heard Matiangi saying on a National Television that there are no deaths or injuries from the police raids. He should fly to Kisumu and look at my son. He should stop lying to the world," said Milka Atieno whose son was killed at Dago, in the outskirts of Kisumu town.

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