Police Teargas Protest Against Kenya’s Electoral Commission
Kenyan opposition politicians and supporters took to the streets in Nairobi and some other parts of the country, calling for members of Kenya’s electoral commission to resign.
This is the second time the opposition members have marched on the electoral body offices in Nairobi.
Police lobbed teargas at the demonstrators as they tried to access the building that hosts the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.
For an hour, police and protesters engaged in running battles along the university road in central Nairobi. In the confusion some students joined the protest.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga appealed to protesters to demonstrate peacefully.
“We have gathered here to tell the world we the people of Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, we are not criminals, we are people who love peace,” said Odinga. “We told the police and the interior minister Nkaiserry that we will have a peaceful demonstration.”
The opposition group accuses the electoral body of favoring the ruling Jubilee coalition during the last elections in 2013, and undercounting signatures calling for a referendum on proposed land and electoral reforms.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan accused the opposition of peddling sensational claims against the commission and vowed to stay put. The chairperson called on leaders to produce evidence showing they are not fit to conduct 2017 general election.
Odinga said Kenyans are tired of electoral malpractices and vowed the protests will go on.
“We will have a peaceful demonstration so that we can tell the world that Kenyans are fed up with vote rigging. … We cannot accept that,” said Odinga. “We will go on with the protest till the commission led by Isaack Hassan and others resign.”
Kenyan media report that on Sunday, the electoral body chief threatened to block opposition leaders from taking part in next year’s polls if they keep trying to intimidate the commission.
In a statement, a council of non-governmental organizations called on political leaders and other stakeholders to pursue dialogue on the issue of IBEC’s credibility.
The council called on opposition leaders and supporters to avoid activities that may jeopardize the stability of the country.