, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – At least two people were killed in Narok Monday and dozens others wounded when a protest to press for the ouster of Governor Samuel ole Tunai turned violent.
Among those wounded was area police chief Paul Leting and two of his juniors, police said of the protest, which brought the town to a standstill for several hours.
The protesters in their hundreds had been camping at the county government headquarters, demanding to hand a petition to Governor Tunai, but events turned chaotic when a group attempted to storm into his office.
“It was peaceful at the beginning, but we had to disperse them when they turned violent and tried to gain entry by force,” a senior police officer said.
Police fired in the air and lobbed teargas to disperse the crowd which quickly regrouped and took positions outside the county offices.
One of those reported dead had a gin shot wound, while the second was said to have died in the stampede as the crowd scampered for safety.
The residents are accusing Governor Tunai of failing to perform to their expectations and want him to resign to pave way for fresh elections, but he denies the allegations which he blames on his political rivals.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery at the weekend warned against any form of protests in the county, saying any leadership issues should be resolved through dialogue.
In a statement to newsrooms, Nkaissery appealed to the area leaders to use dialogue instead of engaging in tactics that could escalate to violence.
“The government also wishes to point out that when allegations of corruption in Narok County emerged, officers from the office of the Auditor-General as well as the office of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) were swiftly dispatched to the county to investigate,” he said.
“Leaders from the area are advised to resolve their issues through dialogue instead of employing tactics that could escalate into violence.”
Some residents and civil society organisations have lodged complaints of corruption at the county government and have organised a number of street demonstrations against Tunai.
Nkaissery said that the corruption claims were already being investigated, saying the residents should wait for the outcome.
“The government has been following closely developments in Narok County and is deeply concerned over escalating levels of tension, which could result into violent confrontations if not contained,” he said.
“In this regard, all leaders in the county should exercise patience awaiting the completion of investigations of alleged corruption.”