Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Kenya Bans Street Protests Amid Election Row

Kenya Bans Street Protests Amid Election Row

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Friday his withdrawal from a presidential election rerun scheduled for October 26 meant the poll had been "cancelled" and there should be fresh nominations for a new vote.

President Kenyatta has voiced public support for new election reforms but has also said the election would go ahead, with or without Odinga. To maintain pressure, his opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition called supporters to the street, saying protests would take place every day from next week. In Kisumu city, local television showed running battles with stone-throwing youth. "Up to now we have received about 23 (injured)".

"One of them has a large injury on the head and another on the chest". A separate healthworker at the same hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said eight people had been admitted "with gunshot wounds". However, the crowd later dispersed peacefully after speeches from opposition leaders, helped along by the first heavy rainfall of the season.

The Supreme Court annulled that vote, citing irregularities, and called for a new one.

While the IEBC has made some concessions to the opposition, it says these demands are impossible to meet in the constitutionally-mandated period.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Nairobi allowed Thurdway Alliance's Ekuru Aukot to vie in the repeat election after IEBC had ruled him out. Odinga's decision is likely to set the stage for more court battles, while deepening a political crisis that has also led to an economic slowdown. That judgement stated that if a candidate dies or withdraws from the fresh election, the IEBC must begin presidential nominations from scratch.

Meanwhile, analyst Murithi Mutiga said that the withdrawal means that Kenya is in "uncharted waters".

Three other protesters had gunshot wounds in the confrontation in the Odinga stronghold of Siaya County, Bondo police chief Paul Kiarie said.

"The government sending the police to stop the people by throwing teargas and using live bullets, they are basically violating the fundamental rights of the people". Kenya adopted an electronic system following the flawed 2007 election which sparked ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead.

They said they can not be part of an election that is likely to be worse than the one annulled by the Supreme Court on September 1, 2017.

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