Running Battles In CBD as Protestors Mark Saba Saba Day

  • Protestors being teargassed on Wednesday, July 7,2021
    Protestors being teargassed on Wednesday, July 7,2021
  • There was chaos in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD), whereby protesters engaged police in running battles on Wednesday afternoon, July 7. 

    The affected areas included Tom Mboya statue, Tom Mboya Street, Kencom, and Moi Avenue respectively as police, armed to teeth with clubs and teargas, dispersed the protest meant to mark the infamous Saba Saba Day. 

    The demonstrators challenged the government to end a number of social ills to make Kenya a better society.

    Among the demands made was the immediate lifting of the partial lockdown and dusk to dawn curfew, and provision of food to vulnerable Kenyans. They also demanded an immediate end to police killings, and brutality, state repression.

    In addition, they also want access to free and quality healthcare for all, clean water and decent housing provision, access to jobs, an end to gender-based violence, immediate scrapping of the recently added taxation, and provision of menstrual hygiene products to all women and girls.

    A group holds demonstrations in Kisumu on Wednesday, July 1 ,2021
    A group holds demonstrations in Kisumu on Wednesday, July 1, 2021

    Over the years, this day, the seventh day of July, has been marked with protests as Kenyans take to the streets offering their demands to the government and often clashing with security agencies. 

    The name Saba Saba is derived from the fact that in Kiswahili, it is a direct translation of the seventh day of the seventh month.

    It is also a popular day in Tanzania as it marks the day in 1954 when the ruling party was founded and the same day in 1964 when Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to become Tanzania. 

    The first demonstration of its kind in Kenya happened on July 7, 1990 exactly 31 years ago, when protesters held demonstrations countrywide demanding free and fair elections and opposing what they saw as the heavy-handed ruling style of the then President Daniel Moi.

    The organizers of the event then, Kenneth Matiba, Charles Rubia, and Raila Odinga were arrested days before the planned event.

    Other organizers of the day included George Anyona, James Orengo, Martin Shikuku, and Njeru Gathangu who were all detained and beaten after proceeding with the proscribed demonstrations.

    In the present day, Saba Saba has taken on a new meaning, aligning the demands of today with the contemporary problems of today.

    Civil rights groups and Human Rights Defenders such as Kenya Human Rights Commission, Inuka Kenya ni Sisi and the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders are some of the groups that come forth to commemorate this day and to offer demands they see fit for the government of the day to address.

    Today, the main towns that have experienced the demonstrations, deemed largely peaceful by the protestors and onlookers are Kisumu and Nairobi.

    Protestors display a banner during Saba Saba demonstrations
    Demonstrators display a banner during Saba Saba demonstrations
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