At least six people died as the third wave of three straight days of anti-government protests rocked the country in the first day yesterday, while at least 13 people have been taken to various hospitals across the country nursing gunshot wounds.
Children were not spared in the melee as the injured included a young boy in Mashimoni, Kibra who was shot on the leg.
Disgruntled Kenyans heeded the Azimio call to come out to peacefully express their anger at the high cost of living made worse by punitive taxes imposed by the Ruto government.
Yesterday, police arrested some leaders and allies linked to the Azimio principals a move the opposition leaders claimed was aimed at frustrating their efforts to mobilise their members for the demonstrations which the government had outlawed.
Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, on behalf of Azimio coalition, termed the alleged abduction of coalition leaders as illegal and aimed at paralyzing the protests.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the arrests of Azimio leaders and close associates of leaders without any colour of right or lightest justification.” Karua said.
Among leaders abducted was Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino who was arrested by police on Tuesday night and held incommunicado.
According to Karua, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga and Kilifi County Speaker Teddy Mwambire, were also arrested and detained in an unknown place.
Nairobi MCAs Wilfred Odallo (Mabatini), Redson Onyango (Ngei), Erick Otieno and Anthony Otsula, who happen to be budget officers at the Nairobi County Assembly, were also arrested.
Raila Odinga’s bodyguard Maurice Ogeta is also said to have been abducted by police on his way to work, while Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango was picked from his house where a search without warrant was conducted.
Karua called out the government for the arrests arguing it is a desperate attempt to sabotage the peaceful demonstrations.
As a result, the coalition has demanded the immediate release of those detained noting that their detention is not only malicious but also unlawful.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga condemned the use of live bullets during Wednesday’s anti-government demonstrations, saying it was unwarranted.
“This illegitimate regime is targeting innocent children using live bullets. Totally unwarranted, unjustifiable, and uncalled for.” He said.
Elsewhere, police chief Japheth Koome insist that the demos are illegal, vowing to do everything within the law to stop them.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on his part, maintain the police acted professionally during yesterday’s anti-government demonstrations, saying more than 300 protesters were arrested across the country during the protests.
However, the Azimio coalition claims that Wednesday’s protests were a success, and as a result, they have called on their supporters to participate day two of demonstrations on Thursday.
Raila Odinga, who is the prime mastermind of the demonstrations, did not participate in them yesterday neither did he disclose his whereabouts.
He however, in a statement, thanked Kenyans for turning up for the demos, asking them to come out again today and tomorrow for the second and third day of the protests respectively as planned.
A day before the protests kicked off on Wednesday, the government had ordered all day primary and secondary schools in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu closed for fear of learners’ security. However, as it lifted the order late yesterday, there was a slow start as some parents and teachers still seemed reluctant to resume classes.
Today, there is a slow start as some businesses remain closed for fear of disruptions and looting.
As the day progresses, it remains to be seen whether the peaceful protests will pick momentum or die down gradually.