Kenya: Protests over talk of assassinating opposition leader

AP News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2016 12:27 PM
Kenya: Protests over talk of assassinating opposition leader

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Demonstrations erupted in Kenya's largest slum Tuesday over footage appearing to show a pro-government legislator saying top opposition leader Raila Odinga can be assassinated, an opposition official and witnesses said.

Analysts say the remarks reflect long-simmering tribal tensions that are heating up again, eight years after they exploded into violence that left more than 1,000 people dead in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election. Kenya is holding general elections next year.

A coffin marked with the name of the legislator, Moses Kuria, was burned during Tuesday's protests, said the head of the Orange Democratic Party in Kibera slum, Sam Ochieng. Odinga is the party's leader, and Kibera is an opposition stronghold.

An Associated Press reporter saw police fire tear gas at demonstrators, who responded with stones.

Kuria and seven other legislators have been questioned by police over remarks that police say may amount to hate speech. The legislators include four opposition members of parliament who threatened to storm the office of the police chief if he doesn't take action against Kuria.

In a video shot at a party over the weekend, Kuria apparently refers to recent opposition demonstrations to remove Kenya's electoral commission, which the protesters accuse of corruption and bias.

"He should be careful because he can as well bite a bullet," Kuria says. "We won't be disturbed by one person. He can bite a bullet, we bury him the next Monday, they (Odinga supporters) throw stones for one week and life continues, isn't it so?" He made the remarks in his mother tongue, Kikuyu.

Kuria is out on bond for two separate charges of incitement to violence and hate speech related to previous remarks.