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.
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. –
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.