Kenya: Kenyan Police, opposition demonstrators clash over repeat election laws

Nairobi, Kenya  (PANA) – Opposition demonstrators' attempts to march in the streets of the capital, Nairobi, were thwarted on Monday with teargas and there were fierce clashes between police and demonstrators in Kisumu, a city 360 km West of Nairobi, PANA reported.

Police used teargas in Nairobi to disperse a number of opposition supporters in Nairobi.

Police also dispersed members of a group calling itself the Nairobi Business Community, with mostly men donning dreadlocks, who had promised to engage the opposition supporters in streets fights.

The Police in Kisumu violently dispersed youth as they gathered for the morning march to the offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

“We came under attack in Kondele and another group of demonstrators from Manyatta also came under attack by the Police. But we managed to stop the business community in Kisumu from opening businesses,” one demonstrator told PANA on telephone.

The Police engaged those who came to participate in the demonstration outside the offices of the IEBC in Nairobi and Kisumu.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was bringing the new set of election laws to avoid mistakes which led to the nullified Presidential elections of 8 August.

“If it was in my will-power, everyone would have been allowed to the tallying centres to capture with cameras as the election results stream in and to make the process as transparent as possible,” President Kenyatta said on Monday.

The Opposition leaders called for the twice weekly protests against the IEBC, saying its top officials, including the Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, was responsible for illegalities and irregularities which led to the nullification of the election.

In a letter notifying the Police of the planned march, opposition leaders said the process would be peaceful and peace marshals would be available to direct the demonstrators.

The demonstrations took place in Kisumu, Nairobi, Kitui, Garissa and Mombasa towns, all opposition strongholds.

In Kisumu, Police were reported to have run out of teargas after several hours of running battles.

The Opposition leaders are demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Election Amendment Act 2017, which seeks to remove the powers of the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.

The new law states that any member of the IEBC Commission, with the support of two other commissioners, could declare the President-elect and that any judge can swear in the President not necessarily the Chief Justice.

The Opposition leaders say the planned laws are unconstitutional.

The city was shut down to business for most hours of the day Monday while the demonstrators engaged in running battles, witnesses said.

“The situation has now calmed down after the Police ran out of teargas and those demonstrating became tired. They were saying the fun of it all was the Police use of teargas,” said Ominde Magana, a local party official.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 2Oct2017

02 october 2017 13:46:31

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