Protests banned in Kenya after opposition leader pulls out of presidential election

Cheryl Sanders
October 14, 2017

Protest violence immediately after the August election left 37 people dead, mostly at the hands of police, according to a Kenyan rights group.

Bondo is the hometown of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of Kenya's main cities Friday in defiance of a government ban on protests as the country is gripped by uncertainty over its presidential election.

Police contingents repelled with tear gas and shots in the air around 1,000 demonstrators in the central area of this capital.

Transport was paralyzed in the lakeside city of Kisumu as youth lit bonfires and barricaded roads using rocks and burning tyres amid heavy security presence. Police have however remained mum on the incident.


The government on Thursday banned the protests, citing "imminent danger of breach of peace".

The Supreme Court annulled that vote, citing irregularities, and called for a new one. "All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one", he said, announcing his withdrawal Tuesday.

Supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga have been holding regular demonstrations in Mombasa, Kisumu, and the capital Nairobi to push for election reforms before the October 26 re-run of Kenya's presidential election.

Opposition leaders have called for daily demonstrations.

"If it goes ahead it is not an election, it is a selection", Odinga told Reuters in an interview during a visit to London.


Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has pursued changes to the electoral law that the opposition says will make it more hard for the Supreme Court to nullify a presidential election and will reduce safeguards against electoral fraud.

Kenyatta said he has two weeks to consider the amendment to the country's electoral law, which was passed by Parliament on Wednesday amid strong criticism.

The Supreme Court said a new election must take place within 60 days, and Odinga has demanded fundamental reforms such as the sacking of top IEBC officials and the recruitment of new companies to print ballot papers and run election technology.

In 2013, Kenyatta defeated Odinga in a hotly contested election.

In a statement issued by Minister for Africa Rory Stewart on Friday, the United Kingdom government pointed out that the rushed amendments would bring unnecessary tension in the country.


Many observers agreed the 2007 election was deeply flawed, and it triggered politically motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead. That judgement stated that if a candidate dies or withdraws from the fresh election, the IEBC must begin presidential nominations from scratch.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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