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Calm prevails in Nyeri despite calls for nationwide demos

Nyeri town woke up to another calm day with residents going about their daily business even as some parts of the country brace themselves for another round of opposition sponsored protests today.

A spot check by KNA revealed people were going about their work uninterrupted with no sign of anti-riot police officers anywhere as has become synonymous with other towns.

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance yesterday said the anti-government demonstrations would go on despite spirited efforts from both the clergy and foreign envoys calling for both government and opposition leaders to consider giving dialogue a chance.

Yesterday, Western powers led by the US decried the worsening political situation in the country and warned that the trend may get out of control unless the two feuding sides agreed to sit down and hold a candid talk out of the crisis.

Justus Omondi who works at the Nyeri KUKENA Sacco booking office told KNA their PSV matatus were still ferrying passengers to Nairobi, a city that has borne the brunt of the protests.

Omondi also pointed out that while he remains an ardent supporter of ODM leader Raila Odinga (who has called for the protests), he does not in any way condone the ongoing violent chaos that the country has witnessed as protesters engage police in day-long running battles.

He says engaging in such acts of violence was not only bad for the country’s fledgling economy but also ends up worsening the problems affecting millions of Kenyans today.

“Even if I support the Azimio party leader Raila Odinga, I cannot be part of the ongoing demonstration since they will not offer me any solution to my financial problems at the end of the day. Eventually with or without demonstrations, one needs to put food on the table and this is what I feel is critical to me,” he said.

Juliet Wambui who had booked a 2NK Sacco PSV matatu to the city insisted that life has to go on with or without street demos.

She said she had to attend to an urgent business matter in the city and therefore postponing it for fear of protesters was out of the question.

“Whether or not there are protests, I had already planned to go to Nairobi on personal business since the government has already assured the public of their security. It is also my feeling that these protests being organized by the opposition will only end up hurting the common mwananchi and therefore there is no reason anyone should put off doing what will be of benefit to him or her,” she said.

On his part, Charles Kande, a bodaboda rider in Nyeri town, says there was no need to participate in an activity that has been proscribed by the government.

Kande said there is always the danger of one finding himself on the wrong side of the law during such demos and therefore the need to avoid them at all costs.

“I cannot in any way endanger myself by engaging in protests that have been declared unlawful by the government. What if I get arrested for participating in such illegal protests? Who will come to bail me out or even feed my family while I am in custody? These politicians are just calling for such protests for their own benefits because if I get arrested, they will not be concerned,” he argues.

On Monday, the country witnessed perhaps one of her worst days of the ongoing protests by the Azimio supporters with incidents of deaths and destruction of property being reported in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori and Nairobi’s informal sectors of Kibra and Mathare North. A church and a mosque were also torched in Kibra late in the day following clashes between two rival gangs.

In the midst of the charged demonstrations, unknown goons later invaded Northlands farm which belongs to Kenyatta’s family located near Kenyatta University and cut down dozens of eucalyptus trees before setting the rest on fire.

The marauding gang also carted away tens of sheep stolen from the farm and sold them for a song to willing motorists in a brazen attack that shocked the nation.

Similarly, Spectre East Africa, a gas cylinder manufacturing company associated with Odinga’s family was on target after it was attacked by stone throwing goons who later fled after being repulsed by security guards from a private firm.

By Samuel Maina and Joyce Kiragu

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