Opposition says two protesters shot dead in west Kenya


Kenya’s opposition said on Monday two protesters had been shot dead in the western city of Kisumu during the latest in a series of protests to demand an electoral body be scrapped.

Police could not be reached for comment. A witness in Kisumu said police had fired in the air to disperse protesters. Kenyan television, which reported at least one death, said police had warned officers could use “lethal force” if deemed necessary.
“We have confirmed two people shot dead,” Dennis Onyango, spokesman for opposition leader Raila Odinga, told Reuters, adding they had participated in Monday’s protests. “We are yet to establish the circumstances.”

Protesters in Kenya’s western city of Kisumu blocked roads with burning tyres and stones on Monday to demand an electoral body that will oversee next year’s elections quit, a witness said.

Police and demonstrators have repeatedly clashed during protests that have been organised on an almost weekly basis since late April by the opposition, which accuses the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of bias.

Kisumu and other towns in the western Kenya, traditionally an opposition stronghold, have seen some of the worst violence. Three people were killed in clashes in the region on May 23.

Police have also clashed with protesters in Nairobi, where the opposition said it would also stage rallies on Monday.
“IEBC must go,” demonstrators in Kisumu shouted, while others carried a banner carrying the same slogan.

A meeting last week between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga failed to defuse tensions in a nation prone to political strife. Violence after the 2007 election killed about 1,200 people.

The opposition have demanded dialogue on reforming the IEBC.

IEBC commissioners deny any bias and say they will stay on, while the government has said any reform needs to follow constitutional channels, which could involve a petition to parliament where Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition has a majority.