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Published on October 13, 2017 by   ·   No Comments


Kenyan police used teargas today to disperse protesters in the country’s three main cities as a standoff between the government and opposition leaders over a planned repeat presidential election continued.

On Thursday, the government banned demonstrations in the central business districts of the capital, Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu.

The interior minister said demonstrators had damaged and looted property.

A repeat presidential election pitting is scheduled for October 26 after the Supreme Court nullified the result of an August poll, in which incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta beat veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, citing irregularities.

But Odinga withdrew from the race this week, saying the election board had failed to institute reforms to ensure a free and fair election. His opposition alliance called for demonstrations demanding a new election with a new election board instead.

The election board has said the polls will go ahead anyway, pitting Kenyatta against six other candidates, none of whom polled more than 1 percent in the August election.

In Kisumu, a stronghold of Odinga support, protesters reacted angrily when police turned water cannon on them to prevent them from entering the city center.

“Our demonstrations have a (valid) basis and are peaceful,” said Odinga supporter Hezron Tirus Aloyo. “We condemn the directive … on the limitation of our rights to demonstrate.”

‘The country is divided’

Early on Wednesday, the country’s High Court ruled that the electoral board should include Ekuru Aukot on the ballot in a case of a rerun.

Aukot received fewer than 1 percent of the votes in the August election.

Analysts say the courts might have to intervene again to find a way forward out of the political crisis.

“In one way or another, it looks like we will end up at the Supreme Court again,” Abdullahi Boru, a Nairobi-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera.

“The country is divided and every camp is interpreting the constitution the way that suits their interests. Each side is hoping that the law will be on their side when things go to court,” Boru said.

Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified last month the result of the August 8 presidential election won by president Kenyatta after the opposition disputed the results and brought a case to court.

The Nairobi-based court said the electoral board committed “irregularities and illegalities” during last month’s vote, harming the integrity of the election.

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