Kenya bans protests before new vote
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s government on Thursday banned protests by the opposition in its strongholds in the country’s three biggest cities because of “imminent danger of breach of peace” as the fresh presidential election approaches.
Interior Minister Fred Matiangi said demonstrations are banned in the central business districts of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
The right to protest is enshrined in Kenya’s constitution, “but we shall not allow a few people while purportedly exercising their freedoms to infringe on the rights of others,” Matiangi said.
The minister claimed that demonstrators had looted and attacked police stations. But the opposition and human-rights groups have accused the government of using police to clamp down on protests. The government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has said police killed at least 37 people, including a 6-month-old child, during protests after the results of the August election were announced.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga this week withdrew from the Oct. 26 vote after his legal challenge to the August results led the Supreme Court to nullify that election, in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner. Odinga has said that without changes to Kenya’s election commission, the new vote could be run worse than the first one.