Day two of Deputy President William Ruto’s Nyanza tour was marred by violence after a mob hurled rocks at his motorcade in Kondele, Kisumu County.
The DP, who yesterday began his visit of Nyanza region, the heart of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s backyard, is on a tour to popularise his bid for the presidency.
The Wednesday afternoon chaos forced Dr Ruto to cut short his speech.
Teargas cannisters were lobbed as he made his way to a meeting with boda boda riders.
His security detail was forced to climb atop the bonnet of his official vehicle to protect him from the stones, with a few people dramatically clinging to his car.
Some of the cars in his convoy veered off towards Obunga area and later proceeded to Kisumu International Airport.
Before the DP arrived at Kondele, a group of local youth had gone ahead to block the convoy’s route from Kibuye market, leading police to disperse them using teargas.
The DP was riding alongside Migori Governor Okoth Obado, and was accompanied by a group of youths who were also engaging another team in Kondele.
From morning, tension had been building in Kondele. Security details were stationed at every corner to stem potential violence.
Groups of youth had blocked the road beneath Kondele flyover chanting ‘Sh6,000’ in support or Mr Odinga’s social welfare plan for poor families.
Read: Raila’s Sh150 billion roadmap towards a social welfare state
At some point, they started directing traffic and blocking motorists but police officers intervened.
Some of the rowdy youths who spoke to the Nation said they were irked by Dr Ruto’s earlier attacks on Mr Odinga.
“There should be a level of respect among politicians, especially when you visit a region that has not been friendly to you. You cannot go attacking Raila and BBI,” Mr Ken Obong’a, boda boda rider at Kondele, said.
Blames local leaders
Before he was whisked away under tight security, Dr Ruto condemned the violence witnessed today and blaming unnamed local leaders.
“We cannot be a country that throws stones. Such acts being instigated by local politicians must stop. Kenya is for all of us. Shame on leaders who are paying youths to disrupt meetings,” he said.
He also offered boda boda riders Sh2.5 million and vegetable vendors Sh2 million to boost their businesses.
After the drama in Kondele, Dr Ruto headed to Rongo in Migori County where he received a rousing welcome.
He proceeded to Rongo and Ranen market in Migori.
He also met the youth at Kabondo Pagisa Resort in Homa Bay County.
The final event of the day will be a meeting with UDA coordinators at Cold Spring Hotel in Homa Bay at 7pm, although planners of his itinerary indicate he will still be in the region on Thursday.
Growing political violence
Wednesday’s events are only the latest instance of a politician’s convoy being attacked.
Last month, the convoy of ODM Chairman John Mbadi was pelted with stones in Ndhiwa by rowdy youths at a funds drive. The chaos saw two of his vehicles destroyed.
In September, a convoy belonging to presidential hopeful Jimi Wanjigi was pelted with stones in Migori. The businessman was on a tour of Nyanza region at the time of the incident that saw him duck inside his car through the sunroof.
The chaos forced Mr Wanjigi to cancel his visit to Nyamira, which was his next stop.