Published On: Tue, Oct 17th, 2017

Kenya Opposition Suspends Protests After Supporters Are Killed

Bloomberg

Kenya’s main opposition group suspended protests calling for electoral reform as it accused the government of deliberately targeting supporters in a series of killings since the country’s annulled presidential election in August.

The death of a student in the western city of Kisumu on Monday was the latest in a series of murders as the country gears up for a rerun of the election next week, National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga said in a statement on his Twitter account. The group is considering ways to hold the police inspector-general and interior secretary responsible for the deaths, he said.

“The murders that have occurred during recent protests, together with those committed immediately after August elections, were clearly premeditated and carefully planned,” Odinga said. “The government must stop this alliance between thugs and security officers and the unconstitutional and reckless deployment of troops to annihilate Nasa supporters.”

As many as 67 people have died in protests that erupted after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of the Aug. 8 vote, according to a joint investigation by advocacy groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Kenya’s election was annulled on Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court found the vote wasn’t conducted in line with the constitution. Odinga’s supporters have held regular protests since then to demand reforms at the electoral commission to ensure the rerun is free and fair.

The Kenya police estimate that only 10 people died in the protests in the capital, Nairobi, while they haven’t provided an estimate for the toll elsewhere in the country. Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the police are investigating the deaths, and that non-state actors may be involved in the killings.

“I think there is somebody with a very clear motive to do very nefarious things so the government can be blamed,” he said by phone from Nairobi. “That motive is something we are pursuing very closely.”

Odinga announced last week that he’s withdrawing from the election, scheduled for Oct. 26, after the IEBC failed to agree to its demands for reforms. The alliance will announce on Friday their next plan of action, he said in the statement.

Bloomberg

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