(Nairobi) A man was shot and killed in western Kenya on Monday, in another day of clashes between law enforcement and supporters of opponent Raila Odinga, who had called on his supporters to descend on the streets against the government and inflation despite the authorities’ ban.
It is the second day of rallying in a week against President William Ruto at the call of Mr. Odinga, his unfortunate presidential rival last August, who continues to claim that it was ” stolen” and that the current government is “illegitimate”.
In Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, “one person was shot and killed”, said George Rae, director of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital, adding that it was a “young man”.
Already last week, during the first day of mobilization, a demonstrator was killed by the police in Maseno, in the same region.
Earlier on Monday, the convoy of 78-year-old opposition veteran Raila Odinga was targeted with tear gas and water cannon fire by police in the popular Kawangware area of the capital Nairobi .
“We are asking for lower cost of living, lower price of corn flour, lower price of gasoline, lower price of sugar and lower school fees,” Mr. Odinga in front of hundreds of his supporters.
In Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, protesters set fire to tires and threw rocks at law enforcement. “We don’t have corn flour!” “, a staple food in the country, chanted the demonstrators in front of the police.
Journalists were attacked by gangs, and some press vehicles were hit by tear gas fired by the police. These attacks “cannot be tolerated” and “threaten democracy”, denounced the Media council of Kenya, a union of journalists.
According to local media, a large farm of former President Uhuru Kenyatta on the outskirts of Nairobi has been invaded by looters. Videos show hundreds of people cutting down trees, stealing cattle, and setting fire to a plot.
“They are cowards, they sent thugs to attack Uhuru Kenyatta’s farm,” Raila Odinga said, also claiming that one of his businesses was looted. “We condemn these acts,” he continued, accusing the government.
The situation, however, remained calm in the rest of the capital, especially in the neighborhoods where clashes took place last week, and where a large police force was put in place for this risky day.
Riot squads occupy strategic points in Nairobi and patrol its streets, where many businesses have remained closed.
Raila Odinga maintained his call on Sunday to demonstrate against the effects of inflation every Monday and Thursday, shortly after the ban issued by police chief Japhet Koome on Monday.
Mr. Koome had warned that law enforcement would not allow “hooligans to come into town to loot and destroy people’s property and businesses”.
In Kisumu, the security forces dispersed with tear gas some 200 rioters.
Mr. Odinga had called on Sunday to make Monday’s mobilization a show of force, the “mother of all demonstrations”, and accused Vice President Rigathi Gachagua of having managed to cause “mayhem”.
Last Monday, during the previous mobilization marked by clashes between demonstrators and security forces, some 31 police officers were injured, and more than 200 people were arrested, including several senior opposition figures, and the convoy of Mr. Odinga had previously been targeted with tear gas and water cannons.
President William Ruto, currently on a trip to Europe, had called on the opposition leader on Thursday to end the protests.
Faced with high commodity prices, many Kenyans are struggling to feed themselves. Inflation reached 9.2% in February, according to the government, and the region’s record drought is depriving millions of people of resources and food.
Kenya’s energy regulator announced an increase in electricity prices from April, while Mr Ruto had said in January there would be none.
During the election campaign, he presented himself as the champion of the oppressed and promised to improve the lot of ordinary Kenyans. But he has since removed subsidies for fuel and cornmeal, the prices of which have risen in the process.