Kenyan Opposition Supporters Shot Dead in Election Protests

  • Opposition CORD party wants Kenyan electoral body reformed
  • Protests in main cities across the country, including capital

Three Kenyan protesters were shot dead during demonstrations by opposition supporters in the western towns of Kisumu and Siaya, as protests demanding reforms to the country’s electoral authority gather pace in East Africa’s biggest economy.

Eight others were injured when police allegedly used live ammunition, Citizen, a news organization based in the capital, Nairobi, reported on its website. Police also fired teargas at demonstrating supporters of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy party in Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa.

“CORD supporter shot in the head by police in Kisumu dies at Aga Khan hospital,” Nation Media, another Nairobi-based news organization, said on its Twitter account. Calls to police spokesman Charles Owino’s mobile phone didn’t connect when Bloomberg sought comment.

Hundreds of CORD supporters gathered in Moi Avenue in the center of Mombasa, where the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has an office. Tens of police dressed in riot gear patrolled as the protesters reassembled after being dispersed by the teargas. The protest ended after Mombasa county Governor Hassan Ali Joho addressed the rally.

In the capital, policemen cordoned off the IEBC’s offices and dispersed any gathering by supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who last month began weekly protests calling for the resignation of the the electoral body’s leaders. The demonstrations have resulted in police tear-gassing and beating government opponents on the streets of Nairobi.

About 44 percent of Kenyans have no faith in the commission’s ability to carry out free and fair elections, while 43 percent say it can, according to an opinion poll published last week. A disputed presidential vote in 2007 triggered violence in the East African nation that left at least 1,100 people dead.

“They can shoot at us, we don’t fear,” Polycarp Otieno, 39, said outside CORD’s offices in Nairobi. “Even if they disperse us we will come back again.”

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