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NASA declares daily demonstrations to push for IEBC reforms

By Cyrus Ombati and Lucas Ng'asike | Published Wed, October 11th 2017 at 16:51, Updated October 11th 2017 at 17:37 GMT +3
Siaya Senator James Orengo address demonstrators, demanding the removal of the IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba and reforms before the election. Photo by WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD

The National Super Alliance (NASA) has now declared their street protests to push reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be on a daily basis from Monday 16, October 2017.

The protesters returned to the streets on Wednesday, marching through various streets in Nairobi as they shouted “no reforms no elections! No reforms no elections! Chiloba must go! Chiloba must go!”

The demonstrators were cautioned against looting and destroying property to avoid clashing with police officers as they started their march.

Siaya Senator James Orengo who was among those accompanying the protesters said their protests for the changes at the IEBC would be staged on a daily basis.

“From Monday they need to know the protests will be daily all over the country. We are not here to joke. If there are no reforms, there will be no elections,” he said.

Orengo said NASA opted to withdraw after the commission showed it does not intend to address any of their concerns.

"There is no way the coalition can participate in an election with the same people accused of being the masterminds of the bungled election."

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The protests came a day after NASA candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka announced their withdrawal from the race over lack of changes at the commission after the bungled August 8 presidential poll.

The demonstrators converged at the Uhuru Park in Nairobi before flocking to the streets heeding the call of their leaders for countrywide protests.

Police estimated 3,000 protesters participated the protests, which were largely peaceful. There were incidents of looting of soft drinks along Haille Selassie Avenue where a group snatched several bottles of sodas from a joint.

Police were forced to lob tear gas canisters at the group of protesters dispersing them, but they again regrouped and went on with the protests.

There were marshals at hand to guide the protests even as several businesses closed down as the group approached various streets.

They marched through Uhuru Highway, Haille Selassie, Tom Mboya, Moi Avenue, City Hall Way, Harambee Avenue, Kenyatta Avenu, Muindi Bingu Street, Taifa Road, Wabera Street and University Way.

Outside the IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers, leaders of the protesters gave speeches calling on the commission officials to vacate office to enable reforms for a credible poll.

They sang songs touching on the slain IEBC ICT director Chris Msando saying his blood would not be spilled in vain.

Anti-riot police watched from a distance as they formed a ring outside the Anniversary Towers even as the group addressed next to them.

The protests affected most businesses in the city as motorists kept off the streets.

There was a confrontation between a group of youth and some of the protesters along City Hall Way that led to damage of some vehicles.

Governor Hassan Joho, Senators James Orengo, Janet Ongera, MPs Simba Arati, Ken Okoth, Babu Owino, Anthony Oluoch, Gladys Wanga, Esther Passaris, former Senator Johnstone Muthama, George Aladwa, George Khaniri among others addressed their supporters and insisted they would not back down on their irreducible minimums.

“Until and after our demands are met we will not negotiate. We will only participate in an election where we know the outcome will be free and fair,” said Orengo.

The opposition, led by Raila Odinga, wants both systems and personnel changes at the commission, including the dropping of Dubai-based ballots printer Al Ghurair and technology supplier OT-Morpho.

The Supreme Court ruling accused the Commission of illegalities and irregularities in conducting the nullified August 8 election.

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