Activists Tear-Gassed by Police During Primary Result Protest in Kenya

Kenya

Police fought back activists in Kenya with tear gas, as they stormed the streets on Tuesday. This is the latest chaos, in protest of the party primary results in the western part of the country, as reported by Reuters on April 25, 2017, at 8:19 ET.

April has been filled with turmoil in Kenya, as voters clash during primaries to choose party candidates. The national election, scheduled to take place on Aug. 8, will have voters choose a president, along with parliament, and local authorities.

The protesters are upset the primary results chose Cyprian Awiti, the incumbent governor of Homa Bay County. Awiti was picked as the candidate to run for the opposition, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), in the national election.

One person was reported injured during the melee, as relayed by Willy Lugusa, police commander for the region. Lugusa noted that the police responded to disband protests, so private property would not be damaged. The police commander specifically stated that only tear gas was used and not live ammunition:

We are not using live bullets, we are only using teargas when people are demonstrating in a manner that is likely to cause the breach of the peace.

The elections will determine who leads the 47 local authorities, recognized as counties. Elected officials manage the annual budgets dealing with billions in shillings, the local currency. The ODM primaries in Nairobi, the capitol of Kenya, were put on hold when young demonstrators broke into a store housing ballot papers. The protesters claimed they wanted to prevent rigging.

Primaries on both political sides have been postponed due to protesting and unrest. Last week, the ruling party in Kenya, the Jubilee Party, had to delay their own voting process, after being tarnished with rigging allegations, faulty ballot papers, and violence.

Disputes and conflict broke out 10 years ago, during the 2007 national vote in Kenya. The strife resulted in 350,000 people having to leave their homes, and the death of at least 1,100 people. The unrest in Kenya, a decade ago, caused the economy to drop to a 1.7 percent growth, in 2008, compared to 7.1 percent in 2007.

Written by Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Jeanette Smith

Sources:

Reuters: Kenyan police disperse protesters over party primaries results
Bloomberg Politics: Kenyan Ruling Party Reattempts Primary Elections After Chaos

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Snowflakegirl’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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