Kenya on an edge as anti-government protests recur


Kenyans protest. File photo by AFP

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
Kenya Bureau
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – RECURRING demonstrations, marred by violence, in Kenya have cast doubts on the commitment of some parties to talks aimed at finding solutions to the political crisis in the East African country.

The skirmishes are also a major impediment of the recovery of East Africa’s largest economy after the recent years of the COVID-19.

After a couple of weeks of calm, protests by the opposition Azimio La Umoja- One Kenya Alliance returned to haunt the country this week, with the capital Nairobi being the epicentre of the violence.

Protesters defied an order by police against the holding of demonstrations, which indicates a breakdown of order in Kenya.

Police documented some incidents on Tuesday, including the burning of a bus and a transit goods truck in Nairobi.

Demonstrators also attacked a petrol station, allegedly stealing 12 gas cylinders and destroyed three petrol pumps.

Police arrested 46 suspects.

“We are still pursuing others captured in our cameras engaging in acts of criminality,” said Noor Gabow, Deputy Inspector General: Administration.

The official added, “The National Police Service wishes to strongly caution all Kenyans from engaging in acts of lawlessness and that anybody caught breaking the law or participating in any activity deemed illegally will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

Tuesday’s protests reportedly cost the country Sh80 million (US$587 155) as business came to a standstill.

Azimio has distanced itself from violence, blaming the skirmishes on people sponsored by the government.

It alleged police destroyed its media team’s equipment.

Previous protests left no less than two people dead.

Calm was retained in Nairobi on Wednesday, a day Azimio leader, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, said they were “taking a break to strategise and recharge.”

“Our protests will resume on Thursday, 4th May,” Odinga insisted, in defiance of police.

Azimio claimed it had information of an impending attack on Odinga’s homes in Karen and Kisumu and his farm in Bondo.

The veteran politician has rejected the outcome of the presidential elections held last August.

He alleged vote rigging after losing a fifth attempt at the presidency.

William Ruto won the polls.

Azimio has been mobilizing Kenyans to protest against the rising cost of living. Talks with the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance have hit a snag.

This is the worst political violence since Odinga disputed the 2007/08 poll outcome.

Over 1 000 people were killed and an estimated 600 000 displaced.

Apart from political problems, the country of 53 million people is part of an East African region experiencing its worst drought in decades, with a sixth failed season predicted.

– CAJ News


















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