Karua whisked to safety as Kisii rally turns chaotic
An Azimio la Umoja campaign at Gusii Stadium, Kisii county yesterday ended prematurely after a device believed to be a teargas canister exploded shortly before the coalition’s presidential candidate running mate Martha Karua started addressing the gathering.
Karua and other leaders were whisked to safety during the stampede as members of the public scampered for safety during the incident which left several people including journalists injured and chairs were broken.
Members of the public had a brief exchange with police officers throwing chairs at them, forcing the police to lob tear gas canisters to calm the chaotic scene.
Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said they had received a complaint about an incident in which tear gas was discharged at the event and had commenced an investigation.
“NPS wishes to inform the public that preliminary investigation into the discharge of the teargas at the public meeting presided over by Hon Martha Karua who is the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance presidential running mate, has established that the person responsible for the incident is a police officer,” read the NPS statement by Spokesperson Bruno Shioso.
“Firm and decisive action will be taken on anyone found responsible for the actions leading to the discharge of the teargas,” said Shioso in a statement to newsrooms after the incident.
Leaders who addressed the public in Kisii town as they headed to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital urged the residents to vote for Raila Odinga during the August 9 General Election.
She said Raila is a patriot who fought for the constitution and rights of Kenyans, adding the national government will work with the counties to foster Babacare health programme.
“We ask for your votes with humility so that Odinga becomes the fifth president. I want us to recall that our country is in danger. If we do not vote wisely, we will land in a ditch,” Karua said at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.
She appealed to Kenyans to ensure the country remains peaceful and get their due rights, adding once Raila wins and forms the government, he will care for their rivals.
“In the Azimio government, Kenyans will get free education from primary to university and benefit from Babacare health program. The government will pay insurance for poor people to access free quality health care,” Karua said.
Raila’s wife, Ida Odinga urged Gusii residents to vote as a bloc to propel Raila to State House and urged Karua to ensure that the mother to child hospital is equipped to enhance health care services, adding that her father and mother work at the hospital fifty years ago and was happy to be reconnected with the facility.
“People in Nyanza are under Azimio and belong to Raila. This is an election year and you have to weigh the candidates and elect the best,” Ida said
Simba Arati, Dagoretti North MP, governor James Ongwae, Kitutu Chache Senator, Richard Onyonka, Woman Reps Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Janet Ongera ( Kisii) Governor candidate Chris Obure, Omingo Magara who addressed the rally and campaigned for Raila Odinga before Karua.
Health Principal Secretary, Susan Mochache who attended the commissioning of the centre, Doctors Plaza and the Mother and Child Hospital said the hospital would address the needs of Universal Health Care (UHC) and reduce maternal deaths from 70 per cent to 38.
“ The government will support the hospital to benefit mothers and children in the region. Mothers will give birth at the hospital and benefit from the Linda Mama programme,” Mochache said.
Earlier, Karua and Ida had commissioned, Gender-Based Violence and Drug Rehabilitation centre, Doctors Plaza and Mother and Child Hospital where they lauded the county government for the facilities, saying they were aligned to Babacare.
Ongwae appealed to the national government to equip the hospital, adding the county has trained adequate experts to treat various diseases.
“When I took over in 2013, the county had two specialists and 16 doctors. Now we have 180 doctors specialising in various fields,” Ongwae said.
Arati, who drummed up support for Raila pledged to support the hospital if elected governor as Obure called for collaboration between the county and the national government to make the hospital operational.
“We are happy with what Ongwae has done and I will add to it if I am elected governor. We are peaceful, harmonious and work together,” Arati said.
Obure said the hospital was a milestone by governor Ongwae, saying it will not only benefit Gusii people and parts of Western region. Obino Nyambane, an elder condemned the incident and appealed to investigators to probe whoever was culpable for the explosion and take action to deter others.
“No such a thing has happened here. It is the police who handle teargas. Police were here since 6 am. Who is responsible?” Obino posed as several residents demanded a thorough probe to unearth those who planned to disrupt the meeting. Terming the incident shameful and uncalled for, he appealed to the Internal Security minister, Dr Fred Matiang’i to intervene and ensure that whoever was responsible was arrested.