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Heavy police presence in Kisumu ahead of ruling

There is a heavy police deployment in Kisumu ahead of Friday’s Supreme Court verdict on the presidential election petition filed by National Super Alliance (NASA) Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

On Thursday evening, two water cannons and two truck full of anti-riot police made their way into the lakeside city, driving through the main streets at around 8.30pm, as curious crowds yelled.

As they passed along Nairobi Road, locals shouted and jeered, perhaps to express their resentment to the heavy police presence.

However, security officials have said it is a normal practice, preparing for anything.

“We are not saying there will be any trouble but we are taking our contingency plans, just the way we did during and after elections,” Mr Wilson Njega, Nyanza Regional Coordinator told journalists.

SECURE PROPERTY

“We are going to secure businesses because it is the mandate of the government to secure people and their property. Whoever may want to take advantage of the situation will be dealt with in accordance with the law. Everyone has a democratic right to demonstrate, but you must be unarmed and you must notify the police,” he said.

This comes just two weeks after violent skirmishes that saw police brutally crashing protests in Kisumu in the wake of the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the August 8 election.

But the deployment has caused panic among some residents who are anticipating trouble.

“The government already knows what the verdict is and that is why they are bringing more police officers here in Kisumu,” said Mary Abuom, a grocer at Tumaini round about.

Mrs Abuom said she will not be opening up her business for what she termed ‘clear signs’ of the outcome of the petition.

On Friday morning, Kisumu streets were unusually less busy, as some people stayed away from the centre of town amid tension surrounding the possible verdict which could arouse new protests in the lakeside city.