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vegassports-odds.com October 18, 2017


Kenya Bans Street Protests Amid Election Row

13 October 2017, 11:37 | Taylor George

Raila Odinga salutes supporters during a past rally in Nairobi

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Thousands of supporters from Kenya's main opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) intensified street protests on Friday in defiance of the government's ban on such demonstrations in the central business districts.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the 26 October poll earlier this week.

In Nairobi, opposition legislators were repeatedly tear gassed as they tried to drive into the city centre.

In Kisumu, a port city on Lake Victoria, transport was paralyzed as youth lit bonfires and barricaded roads using rocks and burning tyres amid heavy security presence.

The protests went off despite the government resolving on Thursday to bar protesters from accessing the central business districts of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The proposed changes to the electoral laws by the ruling party Jubilee has created a political rift among Kenyans ahead of the repeat polls.

The protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place in less than two weeks, on October 26.

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Opposition supporters have been holding regular protests in the three cities, which have resulted in looting and violent clashes with police. Election officials have been locked in crisis meetings since the decision, as debate raged over what Odinga's move could mean for a dramatic election saga that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8 victory annulled by the Supreme Court.

But in an interview in London, Odinga told the AP he's willing to return if that changes.

"We will continue with our demonstrations as planned across the country", said one of the coalition's leaders Moses Wetangula.

The election commission has said the new vote will go ahead with all eight candidates who ran in August and that Odinga is still considered a candidate as he has not formally withdrawn.

Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has pursued changes to the electoral law that the opposition says will make it more hard for the Supreme Court to nullify a presidential election and will reduce safeguards against electoral fraud.

He and Mr Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president, also faced off in a 2013 election marred by opposition allegations of vote-rigging.

In a statement issued by Minister for Africa Rory Stewart on Friday, the United Kingdom government pointed out that the rushed amendments would bring unnecessary tension in the country. He has 14 days to sign them into law. That judgement stated that if a candidate dies or withdraws from the fresh election, the IEBC must begin presidential nominations from scratch. Kenya adopted an electronic system following the flawed 2007 election which sparked ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead.



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