Violent opposition protests continue in Kenya

Two killed in anti-government protests by opposition supporters.

At least two people were shot dead during violent clashes between police and supporters of Kenya's opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) alliance in the western Kenyan city of Kisumu on 6 June.

The demonstration was one of several “Day of Rage” protests held across Kenya, organised by CORD practically every Monday since late April, to demand the dissolution of the country's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga led peaceful protests in Nairobi on 6 June despite the capital's police chief warning opposition protesters to stay away "if you value your life".

Odinga accuses the electoral board of favouring the so-called Jubilee coalition of president Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead of the August 2017 general election.

Police killed at least three people at similar protests in western Kenya on 23 May – two in Siaya and one in Kisumu – although officers claim they acted in self defence.

Odinga fears that unless the electoral commission is reformed next year’s general election could see a repeat of the violence witnessed in early 2008 in the aftermath of the country’s 2007 presidential election.

The 2007 results were disputed by supporters of Odinga who was beaten by a small margin by Mwai Kibaki, resulting in two months of ethnic violence across Kenya. At least 1,220 people were killed and between 180,000 and 250,000 are thought to have been displaced.

Odinga eventually became prime minister in a unity government in 2008 until 2013 before standing again for president, losing to incumbent Kenyatta. Odinga also disputed the results of that election in which he won 43.70 per cent of the vote compared to the 50.51 per cent of Kenyatta who won outright on the first round.