Tension High As Cord Protesters Burn Tyres, Block Roads In Nairobi

Cord supporters disregarded police warnings against Monday anti-IEBC protests and marched to the streets of different counties on Monday, burning tyres and blocking some major roads.

Additionally, protesting youths from Mathare fired stones at moving cars, forcing commuters to use alternative routes.

Among the road blocked by the protesters is Thika Road as they push for reforms to the electoral system.

Nairobi’s police chief earlier warned opposition supporters not to take part in Monday’s protest in the Kenyan capital “if you value your life”. Also, Japheth Koome had said that the police were prepared to use lethal force if necessary.

Opposition politician James Orengo said the rally would go ahead as there was no legal justification for banning it.

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The High Court on Monday refused to declare Cord protests illegal. The court rather called on IG Joseph Boinnet to ensure public safety by giving them maximum security required during anti-IEBC protests.

Justice Joseph Onguto said police are mandated to ensure that law and order is maintained.

Onguto said Cord leaders have the right to express their view through protest because the constitution allows nationals to put their thoughts into expression.

Monday anti-IEBC protests

The court however specifically emphasized that the removal of IEBC commissioners must be done within the provisions of the constitution. It also said the protests should not take place on private property.

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The agitators started this Monday’s protests quite earlier than anticipated. The demonstrators  in Migori county took to the streets on Sunday, shortly after the news that no agreement had been reached on the IEBC impasse. The protesters rode on motorcycles while making rowdy nose with whistles, clearing vehicles off the road.

Businesses were also shut down quite early as the protests feature bonfires on all key roads town as early as 6.30am despite CORD leaders in the county having directed that Monday anti-IEBC protests should commence around 10 am.

Philip Makabong’o said Migori youths have led the way in ensuring that IEBC commissioners march home. The chairperson called on its supporters in the eight subcounties in Migori at local IEBC offices to take part in the protest.

Read Also: CORD’s Controversial Protests To Resume On Monday

Also, in Kisumu, protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and stones, a witness said as reported by Reuters. “IEBC must go,” demonstrators in Kisumu shouted, while others carried banners on which were written several derivatives of the same message.

In some areas, parents were urged not to take their children to school. Olympic Primary School in Kibera has been closed for the day.

The police are ready to act as fully armed riot police were deployed in the counties to disperse the Monday anit-IEBC protests and stop violence.

This isn’t the first time Cord leaders set their faces against police warnings over weekly anti-IEBC protests for the removal of IEBC commissioners before the 2017 general election.

Monday anti-IEBC protests

CORD had cautioned on Madaraka Day rally at Uhuru Park that the agitation can only end if President Uhuru Kenyatta kept his word on dialogue.

Last week, Raila, and his co-principal Moses Wetang’ula said it is wrong for the president and his deputy to overturn a decision to form a 10-member team to spearhead talks on how to disband the electoral commission. But in a statement, State House refuted Raila’s allegations.

Two bills to reform the electoral system were allegedly published last week, but Cord declined them, insisting they want structured talks to reform the electoral system.

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The Constitutional (Amendment) and the IEBC (Amendment) bills when passed could resolve the current anti-IEBC protess,  The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman, Samuel Chepkong’a, said.

This is because the IEBC Bill provides for the formation of a seven-member selection panel approved by Parliament to recruit commissioners.

If adopted, it will mark a departure from the current arrangement that gives the President leeway in appointing the commissioners. The majority and minority parties will be required to propose two names each, a man and a woman.

The other three people will be recruited through a competitive process by the Public Service Commission and the names shall be sent to the President for approval.

Chepkong’a said the two Bills will be introduced in the House next week since a House committee is expected to meet next week to draw an itinerary for county visits.