Two Killed and scores injured as Kenya’s Opposition Pushes for Withdrawal of Electoral Body
Police in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, on Monday fired teargas canisters at protesters gathering outside the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices at Anniversary Towers, seeking the withdrawal of electoral officials from office.
The move followed a directive from the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, who termed the protests unlawful since police were not notified of any planned demonstrations.
“The law calls for police approval before any protest. However peaceful it will be,” said Boinnet but added that the government will not allow the remonstrations by the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, CORD and its supporters.
The situation also remained tense in the lakeside city of Kisumu, where two protesters lost their lives following a violent protest that left another person seriously injured. Five others escaped with minor injuries as the rioting spiraled to other parts of the country as police fought running battles with rioters paralyzing business.
In the coastal city of Mombasa, position politicians and youth alike who were caught in the wrong side of the law were arrested. County Assembly Speaker Thaddeus Rajwayi and 11 other officials were among those nabbed by police.
It was a similar state of affairs in Kakamega County in the western part of the country. Two rival camps clashed sparking off violence in the town, famous for its cultural value. Area Senator Dr. Boni Khalwale would later be arrested, drawing condemnation from the CORD quarters.
“IEBC must be represented with the best practices. We cannot allow a few commissioners to poison the river of democracy and give a deaf ear to the interests of Kenyans,” said CORD co-principal Moses Wetangula.
CORD has maintained that the demonstrations that are also being staged in several other counties are constitutional and legally obligatory. This is the fourth time the protests are taking place, with the opposition vowing to carry out weekly protests every Monday, until the Issack Hassan-led commission succumbs to pressure and resigns.