Former Kitui mayor Martha Mwangangi has been crushed to death and former Lands minister Charity Ngilu cheated death after protests opposing the demolition of kiosks turned tragic in Kitui town on Friday.
Mrs Ngilu was almost run over by the county government fire engine that killed Ms Mwangangi.
Eyewitnesses told the Nation that the driver of the fire engine was trying to scare away a crowd that had threatened to torch another county government vehicle when he ran over Ms Mwangangi.
The truck was heading to Kalundu centre, where the protesters had lit bonfires and barricaded the Kitui-Thika road, when it ploughed into the crowd, killing the ex-mayor as other demonstrators escaped death by a whisker.
Ms Mwangangi and Mrs Ngilu had come to sympathise with traders whose kiosks were flattened on Thursday night on the orders of Governor Julius Malombe’s administration.
Mrs Ngilu escaped being hit by the fire engine by a few inches after she was shoved aside by her bodyguard.
Most of the protestors ran for their dear lives after witnessing the horrifying accident.
They accused the driver of murder.
It was also rumoured that one of the aggrieved traders had committed suicide after finding her kiosk reduced into a pile of scrap metal, with her entire stock inside.
However, the Nation could not immediately establish authenticity of the alleged suicide case.
The driver, however, sped away after the incident, probably to escape lynching by the rowdy crowd that was baying for his blood.
Earlier on, the angry protestors roughed up Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu at Kalundu market after they mistook him for a county officer.
The lawmaker was then whisked away and hid in a nearby building until the protestors dispersed.
Trouble started when the traders woke up to the shock of finding their kiosks flattened, sparking demonstrations all over Kitui town.
The protests paralysed transport and business in the township for more than five hours.
The fire engine driver was later arrested at Kitui Ginnery and taken to Kitui Central Police Station.
Ms Mwangangi’s body was taken to Kitui General Hospital’s mortuary as police commenced investigations.