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Kenya: Police Alert as Nasa Vows to Defy Matiangi Ban on Demos

13 October 2017

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose legal challenge led the court to nullify President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election, this week said he has withdrawn from the race because no reforms to electoral commission have been made.

In the town of Bondo, the rural home of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a large crowd confronted officers outside the police station, scattering as live shots were fired. "One person had his head shattered by a bullet while the other was hit on the chest", said eyewitness Sam Oguma.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya confirmed Friday that he had received the controversial election amendment bill from Parliament, saying he will consider before signing it into law.

The election laws changes were ordered by the Supreme Court, which identified a lacuna it said needed to be filled, when it annulled the August 8 elections citing irregularities.

In Kisumu, a stronghold of Odinga support, protesters reacted angrily when police turned water cannon on them to prevent them from entering the city centre. But longtime rival Odinga says his withdrawal legally forces election officials to begin the entire process from scratch - a move that leaves more time for his reform demands to be met.

However, Odinga on Tuesday announced he would not take part, accusing the IEBC of failing to make fundamental reforms.

But the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for the vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.

The government ban on protests has further angered the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

The demonstrations defied a new government ban on opposition protests in the central business districts of Kenya's three largest cities, while concerns rose again about election-related violence in East Africa's largest economy.

However, the opposition pushed ahead with protests on Friday, and plans to stage daily rallies next week.

Some of the protests have involved looting and violent clashes with police.

Transport was paralyzed in the lakeside city of Kisumu as youth lit bonfires and barricaded roads using rocks and burning tyres amid heavy security presence.

Police contingents repelled with tear gas and shots in the air around 1,000 demonstrators in the central area of this capital.

"We are not intimidated", insisted James Orengo, a vocal NASA official.

In 2007 a disputed presidential election between Odinga and incumbent Mwai Kibaki led to months of violence that killed more than one thousand Kenyans. Doctor Juliana Otieno at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital - named for Odinga's father - said three patients had been admitted with gunshot wounds.

Since the initial presidential election, protests have been taking place throughout the county on a almost daily basis, leaving 37 people dead.

Kenya: Police Alert as Nasa Vows to Defy Matiangi Ban on Demos