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January 20, 2019

Jubilee weighs options as police shoot 3 in demos

Jubilee is weighing its options, in the face of Cord’s demands that the IEBC be disbanded, after three people were yesterday shot dead and more injured.

 A senator and MP were arrested.

 Two people died in Siaya in the ongoing demonstrations while another succumbed to bullet wounds in Kisumu.

 Several people were seriously injured in Homa Bay as police battled Cord supporters who wanted to storm the IEBC offices in those areas.

 Two women were last night reported to be in critical condition after sustaining bullet wounds.

 A number of people were injured in Kibera, where police engaged demonstrators in running battles.

 Sources told the Star yesterday that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is considering forming a joint parliamentary committee from the government and opposition ranks.

 However, for such a committee to be formed, the Senate and the National Assembly must pass two separate resolutions.

 This is one of the routes proposed two weeks ago by Jubilee MPs and senators at a meeting with President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.

 “The leaders told the President that this route offers dialogue outside Parliament, but will at the same time remain governed by Parliament,” said a source privy to the discussions.

 Parliament’s Standing Order number 213 provides for the creation of joint committees with equal numbers of senators and MPs from both Houses.

 The second option under consideration is to quickly amend the IEBC Act to either remove the requirement for a selection panel or change the people and institutions that are supposed to name members of the panel.

 Currently, the IEBC Act provides that commissioners be appointed by a panel.

 The President names two people to the panel, the Prime Minister (a now-defunct office) names two while the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board names one.

 “The office of the Prime Minister and advisory board are now non-existent and so we need to change the law to either abolish the panel and propose a new route or change the nominating bodies,” said one of the MPs involved in creating new amendments.

The Legal Affairs Committee, led by Samuel Chekpong’a, is driving this initiative and has already asked the commissioners to resign.

The Chepkong’a team is also working on a package for the commissioners who now face pressure from even government institutions.

This is the fourth week of protests over the electoral commission and arguably the worst so far.

Last week, there were complaints of police brutality as officers were photographed and filmed assaulting demonstrators in the capital’s central business district in images flashed around the world.

Expert comment: We have reached the point of no return with IEBC

The opposition Cord alliance wants the IEBC commissioners to resign ahead of next year’s presidential election and yesterday its leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Muysoka, Moses Wetang’ula and their new ally Kanu secretary general Nick Salat vowed to dig in with their Monday protests.

Cord is complaining that the IEBC commissioners are biased in favour of the governing Jubilee coalition and want them replaced by a neutral body.

Yesterday, police blocked the path of Cord protests in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kakamega and Kisumu.

They arrested Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Kakamega Senator Boni Khwalwale for leading the protests.

“This is unacceptable and we will not be cowed,” said Raila at a media conference last evening.

In Kisumu, the police chased residents into the estates.

MPs Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) and Onyango Koyoo (Muhoroni) were teargassed alongside hundreds of protestors marching to the Central Nyanza IEBC offices in Milimani.

The officers, under the command of Kisumu police boss Christopher Mshimba, lobbed teargas canisters into a pickup carrying journalists, making them scamper for safety.

Several cartridges were recovered as gunfire rent the air.

Police and protestors engaged in running battles for close to five hours.

A man who was not among the protesters and was said to be headed to a bank located in the Tivoli Centre, was shot: He died later at Aga Khan Hospital.

Medical superintendent Sam Oula said the body had no bullet wounds but sources within the facility confirmed there was a bullet wound.

Another man was shot in the head on Kenyatta Avenue near the county headquarters.

He was rushed to Kisumu East District Hospital by the MPs, where three other men nursed gunshot wounds.

Two were shot in the head and one on the right foot.

A mechanic was shot and taken to Aga Khan Hospital.

“It is wrong for the police to kill innocent demonstrators who are exercising their constitutional rights,” said Kalonzo.

“I am concerned about the heightened tension prior to elections. I personally think the President should act, take it more seriously, to prevent this from becoming an insecurity issue,” said ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi yesterday.

Mombasa county assembly speaker Thaddeus Rajwayi and Junda MCA Paul Onje were among 26 people arrested during a demonstration.

Rajwayi and Onje had gone to protest in Uhuru Gardens on Moi Avenue, where the demonstrations were expected to start.

But as the group grew bigger, police used teargas and live bullets to disperse the crowd.

The officers engaged the demonstrators in running battles on Moi Avenue, forcing shops to close.

Newly posted Mombasa Urban police boss Lucas Ogara said the protesters will be charged with unlawful assembly.

He said the demonstrators did not have a police permit.

They were taken to the Central police station but later released.

Mombasa Sports executive Mohammed Abbas was injured on his right arm and leg after he fell on the road.

After about 20 minutes of running battles between police and demonstrators, Governor Hassan Joho arrived at Uhuru Gardens accompanied by five MPs.

“We are very surprised that these men in uniform can teargas their brothers and sisters,” said Joho.

Cord supporters in Meru Town took to the streets to demand the removal of the IEBC commissioners and they faced stiff opposition from the members of the public who were against the demonstrations.

Trade between Kenya and Tanzania was affected for more than five hours after thousands of Cord supporters blocked the Kisii-Isebania highway as they protested against the IEBC.

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