The Kenyan government has imposed a ban on demonstrations before a re-run of the country’s presidential election.
In an order issued on Thursday, authorities banned protests in business districts of the capital Nairobi, as well as the western city of Kisumu and the coastal city of Mombasa.
Internal Security Minister Fred Matiang‘i said those who violated the ban would be held personally liable for any damage.
The order comes amid a deepening political standoff in Kenya
as the country prepares for a repeat of the August 8 presidential election, the results of which were annulled by the Supreme Court.
The incumbent president and the declared winner of the original vote, Uhuru Kenyatta, has criticized the annulment of the vote, the first decision of its kind in Africa
, saying he would win the re-run anyway.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has, however, boycotted the October 26 vote, saying irregularities that led to the annulment of the first round still remain unaddressed.
Kenya’s opposition leader and presidential candidate of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, Raila Odinga, speaks during a press conference on October 9, 2017 in Nairobi. (Photo by AFP)
Odinga has called on his supporters to stage protests to demand electoral reforms and sacking of certain officials from the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
The three cities included in the Thursday ban are Odinga’s major strongholds and there are fears of widespread clashes between police and the opposition leader’s supporters.
A coalition of opposition parties has said it would ignore the ban and take to the streets on Friday. It also said that demonstrations would be held on a daily basis as of Monday.
At least 37 people were killed across Kenya in the violence that followed the first round, according to a Kenyan rights group.
Kenya’s election authorities have announced that they would go ahead with the re-run despite Odinga’s announcement of withdrawal. They say all eight of the original presidential candidates would be on the ballot.