Kenya govt bans opposition protests in major cities

Thursday October 12 2017

Kenya opposition supporters during anti-IEBC protests in Nairobi on October 11, 2017.

Kenya opposition supporters during anti-IEBC protests in Nairobi on October 11, 2017. AFP PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA 

By The EastAfrican
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The Kenyan government has banned opposition demonstrations against the electoral commission in three major cities citing lawlessness.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders and supporters have been taking to the street in major towns in its strongholds, including in the capital Nairobi, demanding reforms in the IEBC.

But Interior Cabinet Minister Fred Matiang'i announcing the ban on Thursday said the demonstrators had resorted to looting and destroying property.

"Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu," said Dr Matiang'i.

The demos outlaw comes even as Nasa leaders have called for daily protests starting next week to push for changes in the IEBC before the repeat presidential election slated for October 26. The opposition has been staging demos three times a week.

IEBC says the election will proceed as planned despite Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s withdrawal.

Mr Odinga bowed out of the race citing refusal of IEBC to implement reforms to guarantee a level playing field.

Meanwhile, the government has said it will charge Nasa's chief executive Norman Magaya for calling the demos that turned chaotic on Wednesday.

Some businesses were looted and property destroyed during the protests in Kisumu and the capital Nairobi.

“We shall prefer charges against him because he is the one that called the demos, after we have quantified the extent of the damage,” Dr Matiang'i said.

He called on traders who lost their property during the protests to record statements with the police.

-Reported by Patrick Lang'at and Hellen Githaiga