Home Kenya News Here is how Githurai violence was planned

Here is how Githurai violence was planned

Raila Odinga

The plan to disrupt ODM leader Raila Odinga’s pro-BBI rally in the populous Githurai in Kiambu on Wednesday was planned a fortnight ago, intelligence reports show.

Thugs hired by Raila’s adversaries were reportedly paid Sh500 to disrupt his meeting and project him as unsellable in Central Kenya despite his handshake deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In the confrontation which lasted almost one hour at Githurai roundabout, the youths smashed the windscreen of Raila’s chase car, Landcruiser Prado KCH 822R.

Several vehicles including media station NTV’s had their windows or windscreens smashed.

What started as a peaceful BBI sensitisation rally at Homeland along the Thika Superhighway turned chaotic as some youths went on the rampage, hurling stones at Raila’s convoy.

The chanting interrupted Raila’s daylong BBI sensitisation tour in what is now appearing as the return of political violence during the electioneering period.

The goons numbering 100 planted themselves in strategic positions near Githurai roundabout where Raila was to make his last address.

The former premier had addressed successful rallies at Roysambu and Githurai market where he urged residents to support BBI and say no to Deputy President Ruto’s wheelbarrow politics.

The populous Githurai is regarded as the gateway to Uhuru’s vote-rich Central backyard.

The rally was to take place last Friday but was cancelled at the last minute after the plans of disruption leaked to Raila’s team.

“The plan to cause mayhem was there from last week and the plotters have been meeting youths ahead of the rally,” said an official aware of the incident.

Youths were mobilised and each given Sh500 and told to chant anti-Raila slogans. Others were told to stone vehicles, preliminary findings show.

Intelligence officials got wind of these plans earlier on and advised police to mobilise and deploy heavily, fearing there would be deaths or injuries.

Dozens of police were deployed to the area to ensure the convoy moved peacefully.

Police from Nairobi and Kiambu counties were involved in the planning of the event while aware of the planned chaos.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura had met a group in the area and addressed them, saying the visit by Raila was not welcome and would disrupt businesses.

In an undated video, Mwaura is heard vowing to teach unnamed people a lesson, saying they were hell-bent on shedding innocent blood in Githurai.

The senator mobbed by a team of supporters is then seen in the 44-second video chanting pro-Ruto songs as they dance along the street.

“Guthurai haitamwaga damu kwa sababu ya watu wachache. Mimi sijajua na hakuna mtu yeyote ametuambia na wakileta hivyo tuko tayari kuwaonyesha sisi ndio wenyewe hapa [We will not allow bloodshed in Githurai because of a few people. I don’t know and nobody has told me. In case they insist we are ready to show them we are the owners of Githurai],” Mwaura says in the video.

Contacted, Mwaura told the Star on the phone that the chaos was ODM’s plan.

“They had planned this all along. That is a well-orchestrated scheme. Ask him (ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna) to give you more details. He seems to know better,” he said.

Mwaura later went to Twitter and accused ODM of hiring the goons. “Edwin Sifuna and ODM. You hired your goons from Baba Dogo together with Maina Kamanda, TJ Kajwang and Babu Owino to come cause chaos then blame it on others in a very well choreographed scheme,” he said.

“Githurai people are very peaceful and closed their businesses because they knew of your party’s consistent behaviour of violence. Every Kenyan knows that. You cannot fool all people all the time. Githurai ni bedroom ya Hustlers.”

Police said they were investigating whether his remarks amounted to incitement.

Kiambu police boss Ali Nuno regretted the incident and declared they have launched investigations.

He, however, did not state whether they have any suspects.

“We don’t know for now, but a team is on the ground collecting information because it is a bad precedent they are setting,” he said.

He revealed a number of cars were damaged and advised those whose vehicles were affected to report to the police.

“Someone should pay for the damages. Why disrupt an otherwise peaceful event simply because you don’t like some people there?”

Nuno said the team went on with their plans after police managed to disperse the group that had started the chaos.

Earlier, Raila had a short meeting with musicians and small scale traders from Central Kenya at Homeland, the headquarters of Kikuyu Council of Elders.

At the Githurai roundabout, Raila’s address was greeted with pro-Ruto chants and hustler slogans, temporarily stopping the well-attended rally.

It took the intervention of the police and pro-Raila youths to push back the daring youths who then resorted to throwing stones.

At some point, police had to lob tear gas canisters to disperse the youths who were charging towards the venue where Raila was addressing supporters.

The hustler group resorted to throwing stones at Raila’s convoy and continued chanting Ruto and hustler about 50 metres from where Raila was addressing supporters.

The ‘hustler’ slogan is synonymous with Deputy President William Ruto who has made it his campaign narrative to win over millions of poor Kenyans.

Raila was on a campaign blitz to popularise BBI as it heads to the county assemblies after the IEBC on Tuesday confirmed more than one million signatures had been verified to support the Bill.

A defiant Raila continued with his address and urged residents to shun the politics of wheelbarrows and embrace BBI, which he noted caters for everyone’s interest.

He told youths that their problems will be well handled by the proposed Youth Commission which will ensure they get government loans to start businesses.

Raila escalated his attacks on DP Ruto, saying he has failed to deliver on the one million job promises to youths and instead is now busy distributing handcarts and wheelbarrows.

“I want to you say No to wheelbarrow and yes to BBI,” Raila said.

Raila was accompanied by among other nominated MP Maina Kamanda, senators James Orengo (Siaya), Sam Ongeri (Kisii), Rose Nyamunga (nominated), MPs James Nyikal (Seme), Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Ong’ondo Were (Kasipul), TJ Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Teddy Mwambire (Ganze), Pamela Odhiambo (Migori MP) and Antony Oluoch (Mathare).

Others were Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), George Aladwa (Makadara), Esther Passaris (Nairobi MP) and Babu Owino (Embakasi East).

-The Star

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