, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25- Police officers on Monday lobbed teargas at Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leaders and their supporters after they attempted to forcefully access the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s offices at Anniversary Towers.
The police were forced to lob the teargas after they were outmanned, at one of the entry points to the building, by CORD supporters who were also hurling stones at them.
CORD leader Raila Odinga was caught up in the melee and it took the intervention of the ‘Men in Black’ to get him to safety and away from the chaotic scenes that erupted along University Way after the teargas was lobbed.
Also present was Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who was at the nearby Shell gas station and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula who jumped into a waiting pick-up truck once the commotion started.
“Tunaka teargas (we want teargas),” were some the chants coming from supporters holding a huge banner calling for disbandment of IEBC before they were ‘granted’ their request.
It all started when hundreds of opposition supporters led by Senator James Orengo, Senator Anyang Nyong’o and Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang honoured the CORD principals’ calls to converge at IEBC’s Anniversary Tower offices on Monday.
“Tawala Kenya Tawala, Raila Wetu…(Lead the country, Our Raila),” they sang before retreating to the Jevanjee Gardens and later making another go of it despite warnings from Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome that they would be met with resistance.
“Time is bad, we need to go there (Anniversary Towers),” CORD supporters could be heard telling their leaders as they marked time at the Jevanjee Gardens.
A few minutes later the leaders gave in to their demands and led the group back to the Anniversary Towers.
On arrival, the leaders informed the crowd that the principals were, “a few minutes away,” leading to jubilation.
And true to their word the three CORD principals arrived with Odinga leading the charge to Anniversary Towers University Way gate while Musyoka and Wetangula stayed some distance away.
Odinga flanked by his Orange Democratic Movement Chairman John Mbadi joined their supporters in trying to force open the gate leading into Anniversary Towers and it was then that the police repulsed them using teargas.
When a semblance of calm returned Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale attempted to address the press but with the crowd threatening to reassemble, he didn’t get very far before more teargas was lobbed in his direction.
“Why is the commission being controlled by the Government?” he did however manage to say before taking to his heels.
Earlier Koome had made clear that they would only allow a few CORD leaders to make their way up to the IEBC offices and register their grievances over the handling of the Okoa Kenya signatures in order to allow other Kenyans to be served.
“We are not going to allow anybody to eject the officials from their offices,” he warned. “Please be advised, any nonsense will not be allowed. This is a public office and any Kenyan is free to come and get services from this office. If two, three Kenyans appear, there is no problem but not 50 people.”