Kenya police fire tear gas to scatter protesters
Police in Kenya have fired tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the dissolution of the country’s electoral commission before next year’s presidential election.
On Monday, the Kenyan riot police armed with batons used tear gas and water cannons in the capital, Nairobi, to scatter some 300 demonstrators rallying against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The protesters said that the election oversight body should be scrapped as it is biased.
“For free and fair election, IEBC must go,” read a banner held by a protester.
According to a survey conducted by Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, nearly half of all Kenyans who are eligible to vote (44 percent) believe that the commission would not be a fair electoral referee because it is corrupt and inept.
However, another 43 percent believe the IEBC can competently conduct the election.
Monday’s rally is the third against the commission in less than a month which has led to police firing tear gas.
The opposition, led by former Kenyan Premier Raila Odinga, accuses the electoral commission of being biased and failing to act on their complaints over the country’s last presidential election in 2013, citing a series of irregularities that skewed the results.
The next election in August 2017 is shaping up as a rematch of the 2013 election, with Odinga expected to unseat incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyatta, who is running for a second and final term next year, has urged his opponents not to take to the streets.