Tension in Kenya as police cordon-off State House
Anti-riot police have cordoned off major security installations in Kenya, including the State House in Nairobi and Kisumu State Lodge, ahead of the planned mass demonstration by a section of citizens who are protesting the high cost of living.
Early this week, Kenya’s opposition chief, Raila Odinga, declared Monday, March 20, a public holiday to allow his supporters to take part in a mass protest.
Though the former prime minister, who also served as Africa Union (AU) representative for infrastructure, postponed the event to a later date, citing his unavailability next week, fears continue to grip Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, and whose port in Mombasa South Sudan heavily depends on for shipment of goods to the country.
Should the planned protest go forward, the movement of people and goods, in major cities like Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu, where Raila enjoys majority support, will be affected.
Most goods destined for South Sudan start their journey from the coastal city of Mombasa through the capital – Nairobi to the western part, before crossing to Uganda.
Though most tracks destined for Juba pass through the Busia border point, Raila also enjoys significant support in the larger western region.
If the opposition goes ahead and executes its threat, South Sudan, just like most countries neighbouring Kenya, will feel the pinch.
A disruption of the free flow of goods may see a jump in the price of basic commodities in South Sudan.
Also of great concern is the safety of South Sudanese citizens living in Kenya, especially in hot-spot cities like Eldoret and Nakuru.
Last week, some youth stormed a seminar organised by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) and ate food that was meant for guests. The youth accused organisers of ‘’enjoying our money” while they had ‘nothing to eat’.
The demonstration has been called by opposition politician Raila Odinga who is also pushing the government to open servers for the last election. Raila has severally accused president William Ruto is ‘stealing’ his victory in the 2022 general election.
There were pockets of protests in Kitale, Kiambu and Kisumu on Friday.