Kenya bans protests from city centres amid election stand-off
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.