Tension still high in Kawangware after 10 killed in violent clashes
Tension remained high in Kawangware 56 on Sunday, the fourth day of deadly clashes between rival youth groups.
The violence started on Thursday evening, hours after voting in the repeat presidential election ended.
At least 10 lives are believed to have been lost since then. However, police have denied claims by the victims’ families that their kin have been killed.
Trouble started after a Jubilee-affiliated group took offence with their National Super Alliance (Nasa) counterparts who heeded their leader Raila Odinga’s call to boycott the fresh election.
HACKED TO DEATH
Residents would be profiled on the basis of whether they voted or not. Those found to have gone against their leaders’ interests were robbed, beaten up and even hacked to death by the rival group.
Not even the heavy presence of the police could calm down the situation after distress calls were made.
At the same time, residents have accused police officers of demanding cash from them for security.
“When you want to go somewhere, you notify them and they give you escort, which comes at a fee,” said a resident.
The volatile area lies in Dagoretti North constituency, which is represented by Mr Simba Arati (Nasa) in the National Assembly.
It has been the epicentre of violence as the youth, wielding machetes and other weapons, went for each other’s throats. Property was not spared.
Businesses were looted and set ablaze by the marauding youth as life came to a standstill.
Residents, predominantly Nasa supporters, say the youth from neighbouring Waithaka in Dagoretti South constituency, which is represented by Mr John Kiarie (Jubilee) in the National Assembly, have been making periodic raids in the area.
“They check your index finger and if they find that you have not voted, they beat and rob you. Others go to the extent of cutting your finger or even killing you,” said a resident.
Residents could not come out of their houses to do some shopping. Those who wanted to access their houses found it difficult to do so. Others found it difficult to go to work.
Boda boda riders counted losses, so did matatu owners.
Schoolchildren were not spared. Those who were caught in the standoff were stranded; they did not get to their homes, while their parents could not go out to look for them for fear of being attacked.
With the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination starting tomorrow, the situation presents a big challenge to candidates in Kawangware unless the police restore order.
ORGY OF VIOLENCE
As the residents tried to come to terms with the orgy of violence that engulfed Kawangware 56, the area remained deserted on Sunday.
Residents complained that they could not get basic commodities as the available retail places had been looted or razed, or the owners did not want to open them for fears of attacks.
Social halls and shopping centres remained desolate. Signs of fires were evident on the roads. The movement of cars was limited.
People huddled in groups, perhaps discussing the events.
With the roads barricaded and mean-looking youth on guard, even suppliers of goods could not risk their lives venturing into the area.
On Sunday, Mr Odinga, who prevailed on his supporters not to vote in the repeat election, visited the area and accused the government of using Mungiki, a proscribed gang, to attack the residents.
Mr Odinga urged the residents to be peaceful. No sooner had he left than a group wielding machetes and rungus descended on Kawangware, disturbing the relative calm.