Kenyan opposition lashes demo ban

2016-06-08 21:01
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. (AFP)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. (AFP)

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Nairobi - Kenya's opposition on Wednesday accused the government of imposing a "state of emergency" for banning protests and vowed to defy the move.

The ban on unlawful protests was announced on Tuesday by cabinet secretary and Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery, a day after lethal clashes in the country's third largest city.

"President Uhuru Kenyatta effectively declared a state of emergency in Kenya," the opposition alliance, CORD, said in a statement.

"In the meantime, CORD will rightfully ignore the continued unconstitutional and illegal orders of the cabinet secretary in charge of security."

Two people were shot dead in the eastern city of Kisumu on Monday when police dispersed a CORD rally. Another 61 were injured, 20 of whom were hospitalised.

At least three people died in similar protests in two towns in western Kenya on May 23, two of them when anti-riot police opened fire in Siaya. According to police, a third person died when they fell as they were fleeing teargas in Kisumu.

CORD unleashed the protest campaign in April, seeking to force change at the country's election panel ahead of the August 2017 presidential poll.

The protests had been suspended last week to allow for talks with the government but resumed on Monday.

After Monday's clashes, Nkaissery said: "To avert further violence, destruction of property and loss of life, from today, the government prohibits all unlawful demonstrations in the country."

CORD is led by 71-year-old Raila Odinga, a former prime minister in the national unity government set up after post-election violence in 2007-8 that left more than 1 100 people dead.

Odinga, who lost to Kenyatta in the 2013 elections, says the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is biased and should be dissolved.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  kenya

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