Kenya: Demonstrators, led by lawmakers, storm Nairobi streets in free election protests

Nairobi, Kenya  (PANA) – Kenyan lawmakers led dozens of peaceful protestors in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, all opposition strongholds, holding hands high up and demanding  reforms before the 26 Oct. repeat Presidential elections, PANA reporter Friday.

In Nairobi, Esther Passaris and Rosa Buyu, women lawmakers, led demonstrators to a street march, where they encountered a violent group, calling itself the Nairobi Business Community, along the streets.

“We are women and we want to reach our destination of a peaceful election. We are not armed. We want our rights to free elections,” Buyu told Police who attempted to bar the demonstrators outside the offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission  (IEBC) in Nairobi.

The demonstrators are pressing for the exit of the Chief Executive Officer of the IEBC, Ezra Chiloba, who is accused of contributing to the nullification of the 7 Aug. Presidential polls.

A group of the Nairobi Business Community, which has rapidly been accused of having affiliations to the banned Mungiki Sect, which has previously been accused of orchestrating poll violence, accosted the lawmakers near the City Hall, the office of the Nairobi Governor.

“The country is not on the right path. The nurses are not on the right path. The University is shut down and they have sent Mungiki to harass us on the streets,” Passaris told reporters.

She added: “We are very clear on the reform of the IEBC. We have noticed there are several Mungiki members along the picket lines to counter us. But we are saying there can be no good business unless we can elect leaders of our choice freely.”

The Kenyan main opposition, the National Super Alliance  (NASA), insists it would not take part in the election unless the IEBC agrees to a list of “irreducible minimums,” which include re-opening the computer servers of the IEBC.

The opposition also wants the top IEBC officials to be fired from holding office because of the role they played in the nullified elections.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said he was prepared for “open discussion” with the NASA leaders.

“There is room for more negotiations and there is no need for these demonstrations,” Chebukati told reporters on Friday.

The top election official said a formal response to the list of demands by the opposition had been prepared and would be made public Friday.

“I am on record stating that we shall undertake internal changes. We have appointed a special project team which has been unveiled today. Those officials mentioned will not play an active role in these elections,” Chebukati said.

Meanwhile, protests in Kisumu, a major opposition stronghold, appeared peaceful.

However, a group of looters stormed a supermarket and a restaurant and swept them clean, according to witnesses.

“Today’s protests were very peaceful,” said Reuben Ochieng’ from Kisumu. “We are not even aware of the reported looting.”
-0- PANA AO/VAO 6Oct2017

06 october 2017 12:42:02

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