Protests banned in Kenya after opposition leader pulls out of presidential election

13 October, 2017, 20:52 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka

In western Kisumu, a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga that has been a hotspot for demonstrations, protesters blocked key roads and set piles of tyres on fire. Kenyatta insists an October 26 do-over must go ahead.

The three teenagers were shot on the head and abdomen in Bondo town when they allegedly tried to confront police officers chasing them out of town during protests called by Kenyan opposition National Super Alliance (NASA). Doctor Juliana Otieno at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital - named for Odinga's father - said three patients had been admitted with gunshot wounds.

Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race forces the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch - allowing more time for his reforms. "The rest are small injuries like bruises and teargas that damaged their eyes".

Bondo lawmaker Gideon Ochanda condemned the killings, saying the police should exercise restraint as they disperse the demonstrators.

The Kenyan Supreme Court nullified the results of the country's August presidential election, citing irregularities in the election. The decision was hailed across the globe and held up as an opportunity to deepen Kenyan democracy, however the process quickly turned sour, with increasingly ugly rhetoric including attacks by Kenyatta on the judiciary.

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While the IEBC has made some concessions to the opposition, it says these demands are impossible to meet in the constitutionally-mandated period. "All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one", he said, announcing his withdrawal Tuesday.

The Supreme Court said a new election must take place within 60 days, and Odinga has demanded fundamental reforms such as the sacking of top IEBC officials and the recruitment of new companies to print ballot papers and run election technology. It also takes care of a presidential candidate withdrawing from the race prematurely. "One thing is for sure, the country is entering uncharted waters and walking the path to the unknown", the Daily Nation said in an editorial.

Since the initial presidential election, protests have been taking place throughout the county on a almost daily basis, leaving 37 people dead.

Some of the protests have involved looting and violent clashes with police. "What we are demanding is that the electoral commission should respect the Supreme Court and carry out elections in accordance with the ruling", he told Reuters.

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