Kenya bans protests from city cen­tres amid elec­tion stand-off

The Irish Times - - World News -

Kenya yes­ter­day banned demon­stra­tions in the busi­ness dis­tricts of Nairobi and other cities amid a stand-off be­tween the rul­ing party and the op­po­si­tion over a re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

In­ter­nal se­cu­rity min­is­ter Fred Ma­tiang’i said the ban ap­plied to the cen­tral busi­ness dis­tricts of the cap­i­tal, the west­ern city of Kisumu and the coastal city of Mom­basa. Or­gan­is­ers of protests would be held li­able for any dam­age, he said.

Mom­basa and Kisumu are strongholds of op­po­si­tion sup­port, and op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga also has strong back­ing in Nairobi. All three have seen re­peated clashes be­tween riot po­lice and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers re­cently.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Mr Odinga were due to go to the polls in a re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 26th, after the supreme court nul­li­fied Mr Keny­atta’s win in Au­gust 8th polls over pro­ce­dural ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. But this week Mr Odinga an­nounced he was with­draw­ing from the race, throw­ing the east African na­tion into po­lit­i­cal tur­moil. Kenya is the re­gion’s rich­est econ­omy, a trans­port and trade gate­way and a west­ern ally in a re­gion roiled by con­flict.

Mr Odinga’s op­po­si­tion al­liance says the new elec­tions are in­valid. They have called for demon­stra­tions de­mand­ing elec­toral re­forms, in­clud­ing the re­place­ment of some staff at the elec­tion board, and new elec­tions. The prom­ise of more protests has raised fears of fur­ther clashes be­tween Mr Odinga’s sup­port­ers and po­lice.

– Reuters

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