Kenya bans all Odinga protests

OP­PO­SI­TION: LEADER ASKS FOR DAILY DEMON­STRA­TIONS ‘Due to clear dan­ger of breach of peace’, gov­ern­ment halts sup­port­ers be­fore poll re­run.

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Kenya’s gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day banned protests in main city cen­tres, cit­ing law­less­ness dur­ing op­po­si­tion ral­lies against the elec­toral com­mis­sion ahead of a sched­uled pres­i­den­tial poll re-run.

The move comes as op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga called for daily protests next week to keep up pres­sure on elec­tion of­fi­cials to re­form, af­ter his re­fusal to take part in the Oc­to­ber 26 vote plunged the coun­try into un­cer­tainty.

“Due to the clear, present and im­mi­nent dan­ger of breach of peace, the gov­ern­ment no­ti­fies the pub­lic that, for the time be­ing, we will not al­low demon­stra­tions within the cen­tral busi­ness dis­tricts of Nairobi, Mom­basa and Kisumu,” said Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Fred Ma­tiangi.

The protests have seen hun­dreds of op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers march through the streets, some­times burn­ing tyres and clash­ing with po­lice, who have used tear gas to dis­perse crowds.

Though rel­a­tively small, the protests have caused out­sized dis­rup­tion, forc­ing shops to close and de­ter­ring some from vis­it­ing city cen­tres on demon­stra­tion days.

There have also been in­ci­dents of pick­pock­et­ing and mug­gings on the edges of the protests.

Ma­tiangi said the protests had re­sulted in “at­tacks on po­lice sta­tions, at­tacks on po­lice of­fi­cers oc­ca­sion­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm, se­ri­ous dis­rup­tion of nor­mal busi­ness, as­sault on in­no­cent civil­ians, de­struc­tion and loot­ing of prop­erty”, and threat­ened le­gal ac­tion.

“It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the or­gan­is­ers that all par­tic­i­pants re­main peace­ful. The or­gan­is­ers shall be held per­son­ally li­able for any breach of law dur­ing the demon­stra­tions,” he said.

Odinga said this week he was with­draw­ing from the sched­uled re-run against Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta, whose vic­tory in the orig­i­nal Au­gust poll was an­nulled last month by the Supreme Court, cit­ing wide­spread ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

Odinga said with­out fun­da­men­tal re­forms to the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC), the vote would not be free and fair.

“All in­di­ca­tions are that the elec­tion will be worse than the pre­vi­ous one,” he said, an­nounc­ing his with­drawal on Tues­day.

The IEBC said that he had not filled in the ap­pro­pri­ate form with­draw­ing from the re-run and there­fore was still a can­di­date along­side Keny­atta. –

Picture: EPA

GROUNDED. A sup­porter of the op­po­si­tion coali­tion The Na­tional Su­per Al­liance and its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Raila Odinga is run over by a po­lice truck as he rides a mo­tor­bike dur­ing a protest in down­town Nairobi, Kenya, yes­ter­day, a day af­ter Odinga with­drew from the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re-run sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 26.

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