Cord supporters defy warnings to hold IEBC demos

Police teargas Cord supporters along University
Police teargas Cord supporters along University Way in Nairobi on May 9, 2016. They were calling for the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NAIROBI 

Opposition supporters yesterday defied government warnings and turned out for protests seeking to kick out the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bosses from office.

Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula marshalled their supporters in street demos in Nairobi despite a heavy presence of armed police officers deployed at Anniversary Towers, the building that houses IEBC’s head office.

“We are here to say the IEBC must go. We are here peacefully and police should not throw tear gas at us,” Wiper party leader Mr Musyoka said addressing the crowd.

He accused the IEBC of planning to “steal” next year’s elections in favour of the Jubilee coalition, alleging that people under the age of 18 years in Jubilee’s strongholds were being given national identity cards to allow them to register as voters.

“We are here to tell Kenyans and the whole world that Cord is not a criminal outfit. We love peace and we will hold peaceful demonstrations,” ODM leader Raila Odinga said.

Mr Odinga pointed an accusing finger at the Jubilee administration, accusing it of killing businessman Jacob Juma. He also said it was wrong for the government to withdraw security officers attached to Mr Musyoka, a former vice president.

In Kisumu and Homa Bay, hundreds of Cord supporters showed up for the anti-IEBC protests, but the demos did not take off in five of the six coastal counties.