Kenya opposition marches on election board to protest proposed law

NASA anti-IEBC protest in Homa Bay town on Monday October 9. PIC JAMES OMORO

NASA anti-IEBC protest in Homa Bay town on Monday October 9. PIC JAMES OMORO

The Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's August re-election citing illegalities in the August 8 vote and the electoral commission's refusal to allow scrutiny of its computer system.

Siaya Senator James Orengo said the opposition coalition will not back down on its "irreducible minimums" reforms proposal in the electoral commission before participating in the repeat presidential election.

"They are planning to kill us, they drove over our friends and shot one man in the leg, the man who shot the protester entered the same vehicle that drove over our people", a witness told Anadolu Agency.

Uncertainty over the coming election has created turmoil in the East African nation, which is a regional trade hub and staunch Western ally.

As the demonstrators marched towards the election board, a journalist saw men in plain clothes near security forces fire shots in the air.

The police dispersed the protests with teargas as hundreds of opposition supporters burn tyres and block roads.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his supporters have turned their ire on the election board for its role in the canceled poll. "Freedom of expression and a free and vibrant civil society are the foundations for any democracy". "No court can order me to do so", Odinga said in comments broadcast on Kenyan TV stations, without elaborating further. His Jubilee Party has instead used its parliamentary majority to pass changes in the electoral law ahead of the October 26 that the opposition says are meant to make the transmission of results a manual process that has less safeguards against electoral fraud and makes it more hard for the Supreme Court to annul a presidential election.

"If parliament passes the law tomorrow, it will be like declaring war on the Kenyan people", he said.

He said the key part of the proposed law stipulated that if a candidate boycotted an election whose date had already been set, the remaining candidate would win the contest without formal polls being held.

Report says Kenyatta's party is now trying to push through a bill with changes to the electoral laws that could prevent the Supreme Court from annulling future results.

The report attributed some deaths to "police using live bullets and a few from police bludgeoning using clubs".

Seven of those killed were under the age of 18 and included a six-month-old baby who died after being beaten by police who broke into her home during late night demonstrations in the western city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.

Jubilee leaders fear that the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate may not return to participate in the election and, therefore, cause a political and constitutional crisis.

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