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Politicians Protest Police Harassment in Bonchari ahead of Mini-poll

Politicians have protested against harassment by police in Kisii over the upcoming Bonchari by-election.

Leaders allied to ODM and UDA parties condemned intimidation by police of the candidates.

The contest has attracted 13 individuals.

On Thursday night, police raided Kisii governor James Ongwae’s home as he was having tea with Senator Prof Sam Ongeri and Woman Representative Janet Ong’era.

They were accused of holding an illegal political meeting.

Speaking on Friday, governor Ongwae said he received word that he was holding an illegal assembly at his residence which the police had come to disperse.

Read: IEBC Clears Graft Suspect Pavel Oimeke To Run For Bonchari MP Seat

Upon entry, Ongwae asked the police to withdraw but they informed him that the two legislators had to leave.

“I am calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to put a stop to this, elections come and go. Leaders are all transitory. Democratic institutions must be respected. 50 officers can’t storm my house as if I am a wanted criminal,” he said.

He added, “I didn’t become a governor by accident. I was elected by majority votes. This is not the way to run a Country. I have been a Permanent Secretary and I didn’t see such decisions made. This is unfortunate.”

Ong’era on her part expressed concern that police stormed the governor’s residence without a warrant.

“I am demanding concrete reasons from IEBC and other relevant agencies on why they allowed for a by-election yet they know there was Covid-19 amongst us. We have a by-election in Juja but we have not seen such kind of harassment,” she said.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna claimed that police brandishing guns, truncheons and teargas have in the recent past stalked campaign meetings led by Ong’era and dispersed four peaceful town hall meetings.

“When the MP and leaders accompanying her confronted the police officers to explain why they were unlawfully trying to disrupt a peaceful and lawful democratic process, they said they had been given instruction from their superiors to do so,” he said.

Read Also: Two Dead After Car Rams Into UDA Bonchari Candidate Oyioka’s Convoy

He claimed that a top government official ordered for the disruption of ODM candidate Pavel Oimeke’s campaign.

“We have it on authority that as our candidate’s meetings were being disrupted, a top national government official was holed up in a secret meeting with senior government operatives in Bonchari,” Sifuna alleged.

But according to Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kool, the police were not favouring the government sponsored candidate.

“Let it be clear to all candidates in Bonchari Constituency by-election that they must follow all guidelines for the conduct of an election and also maintain COVID-19 management protocols, failure to which the Police will not hesitate to take necessary action,” Kool said.

The mini-poll will be held on May 18.

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