The newly-acquired police anti-riot gear was put to test yesterday for the first time during the Opposition protest.
The new water cannons were used to disperse the protesters who had been peaceful for the better part of their demonstration outside the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s offices in Nairobi.
Also in use were new tear gas canisters that were imported alongside the lorries. Two of the over 20 lorries imported from China arrived along University Way ready for their mission; patrolling the site as from 7am. They were joined by two other old ones.
One of the lorries was used to splash water, believed to be laced with chemicals, on the protesters who scampered for safety as it gave chase.
The lorries are also fitted with special cameras. The cannons were put to use after police had lobbed teargas canisters at the crowd, beating some of them as well.
The imported anti-riot gear has been distributed to various places deemed be violence and protests hotspots.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery defended the imports saying the country has experienced an increase in cases of riots.
“You will no longer throw stones at police during riots. We are bringing in anti-riot gear that will help them deal with riots, which are on the increase,” he said.
The arrival of the fleet drew mixed reactions from Kenyans online.
The gear also include special clothes for police and clubs. This will be catered for by the Sh3.8 billion allocated the security sector to address the issue of equipment.
And as part of efforts to enhance police operations in the war on terror, 30 armored personnel carriers were purchased and distributed to various parts of the country thought to be terror hotspots.