MIGORI, Kenya, Aug 31 – The death toll of people killed in chaos linked to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) grassroots elections in Migori has risen to three.
The third person who had sustained panga cuts succumbed to the injuries in hospital Monday afternoon, according to police in the region who linked the deaths to the ongoing party primaries although they did not occur at polling stations.
The elections however went on amid tight security after more police officers were deployed there.
Reports indicate that the violence broke out at various spots in Awendo when supporters of ODM and Ford-Kenya clashed, leaving many with injuries.
Rongo police chief Muganda Kisaka has told journalists that they had launched investigations and were looking for perpetrators of the violence which he linked to the ODM elections.
“We received an assault report at midnight that three people had fought at Stage Park. Preliminary investigations indicate that they had political differences, in their political ideologies; one of ODM and the other Ford-Kenya. One man was stabbed, it is unfortunate that this morning he had lost his life,” said the Rongo Police chief.
ODM’s National Elections Board officials who spoke in Nairobi condemned the chaos which they blamed on rising tensions after a road accident in Awendo where a newly elected official was ran over by a motor vehicle.
The party’s Director of Political Affairs Junet Mohammed and Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen insisted that the violence witnessed in Awendo was not related to the grassroots polls.
In a statement to media house, Mohammed said: “the attention of the party has been drawn to media reports that ODM elections in Migori County have been marred by violence which has claimed two lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two deaths in Migori County have nothing to do with ODM elections. Police in the County have confirmed that the deaths resulted from criminal acts that had nothing to do with party elections. Police have equally confirmed the victims had criminal records for which they were being sought by police.”
Ong’wen explained that the supporters who were in the newly elected official’s victory entourage attacked the driver and passengers in a station wagon (popularly used as a public service vehicle in the area) after it rammed and run-over a boda-boda that the official was riding on, leaving him with serious injuries.
Three people were rushed to various hospitals with serious injuries.
“A matter that we don’t think was directly related to the elections, but you know during elections emotions run high and people who accosted the occupants of this car claimed that it was opponents that wanted finish the newly elected chair is tragic,” said the ODM Executive Director.
ODM National Elections Board Chairperson Judith Pareno and Ong’wen had earlier lauded the party supporters in six counties where the first batch of grassroots polls were taking place for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner.