By Magdalene Mukami and Andrew Ross
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - Two people died on Monday in Kenya and dozens were left injured in nationwide opposition protests demanding the disbandment of Kenya’s electoral body, now entering their fifth week.
Opposition supporters led by their leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, claim that Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to rig next year’s general elections in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Transport was paralyzed in major towns as opposition supporters burned tires and blocked roads with boulders. In the capital Nairobi a 21-seater bus and two houses were razed by angry protesters.
Using a megaphone, Odinga told thousands of protesters in Nairobi that the High Court had ruled that their protest was legal and no teargas would be used against them. He proceeded to lead thousands in the protests sweeping down the roads.
But across the country in his stronghold in western Kenya, two people were gunned down in the town of Kisumu near the shores of Lake Victoria, and others were rushed to hospital with serious wounds that locals claimed to be from gunshots. Police had no comment.
Firebrand opposition leader Johnstone Nduya Muthama told reporters in Nairobi that the protests will soon be held twice a week if the government ignores calls for dialogue over Kenya’s electoral body.
“We are telling the Jubilee government that if you don’t agree for dialogue to take place, note this, we have been doing this on Mondays, we are going to do them on Mondays and Thursdays,” he warned. “We are giving them two weeks to respond positively. If they ignore it will be four days a week, then thereafter seven days a week.”
He added that opposition supporters are ready to cripple activities in all towns, saying, “There won’t even be room for a bicycle to pass as we will be sleeping on the roads.”
Businesses in Nairobi and around the East African country remained closed as merchants feared a repeat of the looting that happened in previous protests.