The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, has Tweeted that he is “deeply concerned” about today’s violence.
Mr Hailey also used the social media platform to call on the authorities to show restraint and for demonstrators to ensure their gatherings are peaceful. Finally, he said that both sides needed to talk to each other to ensure a peaceful resolution.
Deeply concerned by violence today. Call on authorities 2 show restraint & demonstrations 2 be peaceful. All sides need dialogue on way fwd
— Nic Hailey (@HCNicHailey) May 23, 2016
Today marked the start of the fourth week of protests against Kenya’s electoral commission which turned violent as demonstrators clashed with police.
Security and medical sources have confirmed that two men were killed in Siaya while another man was killed in Kisumu during clashes between police and opposition supporters.
Police used water cannons and tear gas in a number of Kenyan cities to disperse groups organised by the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) ahead of next year’s general elections, due to take place in August.
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) May 23, 2016
CORD leaders and supporters marched on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) building in Nairobi, Mombasa, and other cities, calling for the removal of IEBC’s members who they view as “politically biased”.
In 2013, CORD accused the commission of manipulating the presidential election result.
… politicians are already trying to galvanise their supporters in a nation where violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the outcome in 2013.
CORD, led by Raila Odinga who lost the 2013 vote and unsuccessfully challenged the result in court, has accused the IEBC of bias and said its members should quit. IEBC officials have dismissed the charge and say they will stay. (Reuters)
The Daily Nation has reported that crowds threw stones at police and multiple people were shot during the protests.
— Reuters Africa (@ReutersAfrica) May 16, 2016
The protests were labelled illegal by the police and the government called on CORD to suspend the demonstrations and pursue IEBC’s removal through the constitution.
“The demonstrations are illegal and the organizers have been clearly warned. If they insist on rioting, they will meet us there.” – Mombasa’s police chief Lucas Ogara (speaking to Reuters)
— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) May 17, 2016
However, in a news conference yesterday (Sunday 22 May), CORD leaders defiantly proclaimed Monday’s demonstrations would still take place stating that: “Kenyans will be doing this, as we have done in the past, in exercise of their right to assemble peaceably and to direct the widest possible attention to a great national issue.”