One feared dead as chaos erupt in Murang'a ahead of DP Ruto visit

Deputy President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

One person is feared dead after chaos erupted at Kenol in Murang'a County where the Deputy President William Ruto is attending a church fundraiser.

The drama started at around 8 am on Sunday where youth barricaded the Kenol-Murang’a road protesting Ruto's visit in the region.  More others sustained serious injuries from the confrontations.

However, Muranga South Police boss Anthony Keter said he is not aware of any death from the chaos that also resulted in the destruction of property of unknown value.

A viral video suspected to have been taken from the scene shows a woman who identified herself as Mercy Wangui confessing to having been hired by Muranga Woman Representative Sabina Chege to disrupt the meeting.

Wangui who was seemingly roughed up said they were hired from Kiandutu slums in Thika and promised to get Sh1,000 after successfully disrupting the visit.

"We have not yet been paid. We were ferried from Thika in Kenya Mpya buses, " she said.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that there were about four buses hired to ferry the youth to Kenol.

The incident disrupted transport along the busy highway as burning tires smouldered on the road, forcing motorists to seek alternative routes.

Police are also said to have thrown tear gas canister in the AIPCA Church at Kenol.

Ruto is being hosted by Kandara MP Alice Wahome.

Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Mawira Mungania confirmed the incident and said more police officers had been deployed to quell the chaos.

He said those injured were rushed to hospitals. Some locals claimed the chaos were started by outsiders.

“We have deployed more personnel to disperse the fighting groups,” he said.

Several vehicles were stoned forcing others to seek alternative routes. The DP was scheduled to visit the AIPCA Kenol Church where he was expected to attend a fundraiser.

He arrived there in the company of at least ten Members of Parliament under tight security. There were prior reports of planned protests to stop the DP from visiting that prompted massive deployment of police officers.

This is the latest political violence to be reported in the country ahead of the 2022 general elections amid tensions in various factions, especially within the Jubilee Party. Ruto has declared he wants to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022 amid opposition from within the party and outside.

[Additional reporting by Cyrus Ombati]