Kenya bans protests in cities amid elec­tion fall­out

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

KENYA has banned protests in three ma­jor city cen­tres fol­low­ing weeks of demon­stra­tions by op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers.

Fred Ma­tiangi, act­ing in­ter­nal se­cu­rity min­is­ter, said ral­lies are banned in the cen­tral busi­ness dis­tricts of the cap­i­tal, Nairobi, the coun­try’s sec­ond city — Mom­basa and the op­po­si­tion strong­hold of Kisumu.

“Pro­tect­ing the lives and prop­er­ties of the peo­ple of Kenya is not ne­go­tiable,” Ma­tiangi told a Press con­fer­ence in Nairobi yes­ter­day.

“We have noted with great con­cern the es­ca­la­tion of law­less­ness, breach of peace and pub­lic or­der dur­ing demon­stra­tions or­gan­ised by NASA,” Ma­tiangi said.

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

The East African coun­try has been gripped by protests af­ter Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was de­clared the win­ner of the Au­gust 8 elec­tion. Last month, the coun­try’s Supreme Court an­nulled the vote and called for re-run of the poll.

But op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga, Keny­atta’s main chal­lenger, pulled out of the race this week af­ter claim­ing his de­mands were not met. An­nounc­ing his with­drawal on Tues­day, Odinga said: “All in­di­ca­tions are that the elec­tion sched­uled for 26 Oc­to­ber will be worse than the pre­vi­ous one.”

The op­po­si­tion had re­quested that some of the elec­toral of­fi­cials in charge of the last poll should be re­placed, call­ing for daily protests un­til their de­mands were met.

Those daily protests should start next week, the op­po­si­tion has said.

Keny­atta, for his part, in­sists that the elec­tion re­run must go ahead.

Philip Zeal Che­bunet, a lec­turer and po­lit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­pert at Univer­sity of El­doret, told Al Jazeera the govern­ment had no choice but to ban protests in cen­tral busi­ness dis­tricts.

“The govern­ment had to put in place ev­ery­thing to en­sure the prop­er­ties and the peo­ple of Kenya are safe. It ap­pears they are han­dling the sit­u­a­tion based on the con­sti­tu­tion. And I be­lieve in the next few days ev­ery­thing will be in or­der and back to nor­mal,” Che­bunet said.

Kenya’s par­lia­ment passed an elec­tion law amend­ment on Wed­nes­day stat­ing that if one can­di­date with­drew from the re-run vote, the re­main­ing one would au­to­mat­i­cally win. The vote was boy­cotted by op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers.

The law aimed to en­sure Keny­atta could be de­clared pres­i­dent if he faced no chal­lengers. — AP

Fred Ma­tiangi

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