Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ODM Vows to Go On With Protests

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS16 January 2008
Posted to the web 16 January 2008
By Odhiambo OrlaleNairobi

ODM leader Raila Odinga has today said that they will continue peaceful demonstrations across the country until they get "justice" over the disputed presidential election.

The protests took off in several towns with most exploding into riots after police broke the demonstrations. There have been reports of a man shot dead in Kisumu, while in Nairobi's Kibera slums three people were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds.

Nairobi's city centre was peaceful until shortly after 2pm when riot police lobbed tear gas and shot in the air to eject some ODM leaders.

Mr Odinga said they would not be cowed by the heavy presence of armed security personnel at Nairobi's historic Uhuru Park, where they had planned to hold a rally, and the other 40 venues in major towns.

The controversial rallies that has been banned [stet] by the Government citing security concerns.

The venue has been cordoned for the past two weeks since President Kibaki was declared the winner of the contested presidential elections by the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Mr Samuel Kivuitu.

The Park been guarded round the clock by a combined team of armed riot squad, Administration Policemen and the para-military General Service Unit officers, using horses and guard dogs.

The ODM leader told journalists that he had received information from party officials and supporters across the country that mass action had taken off in all venues.

In Bungoma, a former university student leader, Mr Wafula Buke, was among scores of ODM supporters who had been arrested for leading demonstrators, Mr Odinga said.

Said Mr Odinga: "Yesterday's victory by ODM in Parliament in the election of Speaker Kenneth Marende and his deputy, Mr Farah Maalim, shows that it will not be business as usual in Parliament."

The ODM leader addressed a Press conference together with the party's leading lights William Ruto, Najib Balala, Charity Ngilu and Joseph Nyaga shortly before they joined over 30 MPs in yet another attempt to gain entry into Uhuru Park.

Mr Odinga blamed the current political crisis in the country to the disputed presidential elections and accused President Kibaki, who had stood on a Party of National Unity ticket, of being in office illegally.

"This government has no international credibility, that is why it has deployed a big number of armed policemen throughout the country to stop our peaceful rallies," the ODM leader said.

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