Kenya: Kenyan opposition leaders skip mass protest against poll officials

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga skipped the street demonstrations against the independent electoral commission on Tuesday after the state withdrew his bodyguards.

Supporters of the opposition alliance, the National Super Alliance (NASA), turned out in hundreds outside the offices of the elections body in Nairobi to demand for the reforms in the elections system.

The protests were the first major event directly targeting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) since the annulment of the presidential election results. The demonstrators targeted reforms before the holding of the 26 October repeat presidential poll.

“We have suffered many calamities in the long journey that has brought us to this low-point but we have always managed one way or the other to overcome them,” Odinga said, pledging that Kenya would continue to make progress equal to its passing of the 2010 constitution.

The opposition supporters gathered outside Anniversary Towers in central Nairobi to call for the removal of IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba and other senior commission staff.

Odinga said the demonstration was not about him going on the ground, but it was a demonstration organised by Kenyans to express dissatisfaction with the IEBC.

"It was a demonstration by Kenyans. It was not a demonstration of Raila Odinga. Generals do not always go to war. It is the foot soldiers," Odinga said.

In new revelations, Odinga said a French firm which provided the secure network for the transmission of the Presidential election results colluded with local telecom companies to rob the Kenyans of an election victory.

According to NASA leaders, Safaricom, which transmitted the results through a private virtual network, terminated at a cloud server registered in Spain but operated from France which did not transmit the results wired from polling stations to the IEBC servers in Kenya.

“IEBC cannot begin the process of ensuring an honest election as long as those responsible for the irregularities and illegalities are still lurking in its corridors,” Odinga said at a news conference.

Demonstrators poured into the streets of Kisumu, the lakeside city located in the western Kenya region and in Migori, near the border with Tanzania, to demand the resignation of Chiloba from the IEBC.

Odinga said he had evidence showing that the sum total of all acts of commission led to a messed up election, which is yet to be cleaned up ahead of the fresh election.

“Clearly, the IEBC has no intention of reforming itself into a credible electoral institution,” Odinga said.

Earlier, Members of Parliament allied to the opposition coalition declined to present a list of their members to form parliamentary committees, saying it could not be done until after the presidential election.

Odinga said the Tuesday process was the start of a process to force the IEBC staff to leave office.

Police responded to the protests by firing teargas canisters propelled by bullets, sending the demonstrators running in all directions away from the IEBC offices.

-0- PANA AO/AR 26Sept2017

26 september 2017 17:16:20

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