Authorities bans protests against electoral body – in Kenya


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Kenya’s opposition said late on Tuesday it
would defy a ban imposed by the government
on its protests against the electoral
commission after an escalation of deadly
violence at rallies held every Monday since
early April.
Kenya is not due to hold its next presidential
election until August 2017 but clashes are
becoming more frequent between security
forces and opposition leaders and their
supporters who say senior officials of the
Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission (IEBC) favour President Uhuru
Kenyatta.
The opposition coalition for reform and
democracy (CORD), led by Raila Odinga,
Kenyatta’s main rival, says the IEBC is also
incompetent, citing failure of voter verification
equipment in the last poll.
In a statement on Tuesday, the government
said demonstrators had destroyed both private
and public property worth millions during the
protests.
“To avert further violence, destruction of
property and loss of life, from today the
government prohibits all unlawful
demonstrations in the country,” the
statement, issued by the interior ministry,
said.
On Monday, security forces clashed with
opposition supporters who were trying to
march on the offices of the IEBC in the
opposition stronghold of Kisumu in western
Kenya.
In those riots, two people were killed and 50
people, including both civilians and security
personnel, were injured, the statement said.
Dennis Onyango, CORD’s spokesman told
Reuters the ban meant “nothing” to them and
that “protests, picketing and petitions will go
on as they are protected by the Constitution”.
“Kenya is … governed by the constitution. If
the Government has suspended the
constitution, it is yet to make that public,” he
said.
Government critics and Western ambassadors
have accused the police of using excessive
force and have called for dialogue.
Businesses have also called for swift resolution
to the row, saying the upheaval was taking a
toll on an economy which was hit hard by the
post-2007 election violence and tensions in
the build up to the 2013 vote.

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