Kenya's government bans all protests against electoral body

AP News
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Posted: Jun 07, 2016 2:17 PM
Kenya's government bans all protests against electoral body

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's government has banned all opposition protests against the country's electoral body, a day after witnesses said police killed two demonstrators, the internal security minister said Tuesday.

A 6-year-old boy was also hit in the back by a police bullet Monday during protests in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, witnesses said. He was among 21 people hospitalized with bullet wounds, according to hospital sources who insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The security minister, Joseph Nkaissery, said the chaos does not fall within the parameters set by the constitutional court, which had called the demonstrations a constitutionally guaranteed right and ordered the police to protect protesters.

"It is extremely dangerous for anybody to challenge the government decision. The consequences are grave," Nkaissery said, without giving details.

The opposition has been holding protests nearly every Monday for the last six weeks to push for the disbanding of the electoral commission, which they say is biased and corrupt.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy said the right to demonstrate is not a privilege granted by the state but rather a right guaranteed by the constitution.

"Clearly ... Nkaissery is living in the past. His utterances smack of an old colonial order that is laden with the impunity of the past," Norman Magaya, the chief executive officer at the CORD secretariat, said in a statement.

Magaya said the demonstrations will be held on Monday and Thursday next week.

"Unlawful orders must be treated with contempt," he said.

Some electoral commission members have been named in a case in which two executives of British printing firm Smith and Ouzman Ltd. were convicted in the U.K. for making corrupt payments to individuals in various countries, including Kenya, to win business for the company.