Kenya: Police Quash Electoral Reform Protests

The protesters were en route to the electoral body’s offices in Nairobi to oust its commissioners. Ex-premier Raila Odinga said the officials have done nothing to respond to irregularities during Kenya’s 2013 election.

Kenyan police on Monday fired tear gas on opposition protesters that included key leaders, such as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who lost the 2013 presidential election to Uhuru Kenyatta.

The protesters were attempting to reach the Nairobi offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to eject the African nation’s election commissioners over inaction over voting irregularities during the 2013 general election.

In a March op-ed published in Kenya’s independent newspaper “Daily Nation,” Odinga called for the electoral commission to embody the principles of “transparency” and “impartiality.”

Kenyan businesses are urging their German counterparts to come and invest in their country. Compared to other European countries, Germany is still lagging behind in investment in Africa.

The former premier claimed that the IEBC did not thoroughly investigate irregularities, including voting equipment failing “within the first hour of the opening of the polls.”

“We cannot afford to wait for miracles again. That’s why the opposition and civil society have teamed up to institute measures to reform the electoral system through a referendum,” Odinga said.

However, the IEBC on Monday said it would not succumb to “intimidation, threats or malicious orchestrations.”

“The commissioners were appointed through a legal process and their removal from office is also governed by the same legal process. The rule of law therefore must be respected in any conversation in regard to the removal of the commission,” the IEBC said in a statement.

‘An irreducible reality’

Odinga called for electoral reforms to be implemented ahead of the 2017 general elections, adding that they were only possible if Kenya’s election officials stepped down.

“In all accountable political systems, electoral debacles lead to immediate thorough public reviews,” the ex-premier noted.

“Kenyans will have to go to the polls under a new set of laws, new arrangement for elections and without the current officials. The sooner this dawns on the government and electoral commission as an irreducible reality, the better for our country,” Odinga said.

SOURCE: Deutsche Welle