NAIROBI-Kenyan police fired teargas into a crowd of opposition leaders and their supporters who were marching on the office of the country’s electoral commission to demand its disbandment ahead of next year’s election.
The East African nation goes to the polls in August 2017. The opposition rejected the outcome of the last presidential vote in March 2013 and petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the result. The court upheld it.
Opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula demanded the dissolution of the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the weekend and said they would storm its offices to eject its commissioners.
They led about 500 supporters, who waved placards, whistled and shouted, to the commission’s office in downtown Nairobi, where riot police dispersed them with teargas.
The opposition accuses the IEBC of failing to act on their complaints stemming from the last election.
They also say the body is tainted, after some of its officials were mentioned in a corruption scandal in Britain, involving the printing of ballot papers for a 2010 referendum held by IEBC’s predecessor, the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC).
IEBC rejects the accusations and says any party that wants to kick out its commissioners should follow the laid-down procedures, including sponsoring a constitutional amendment in parliament.