Kenyan police fire teargas at opposition leaders, supporters

World Monday 25/April/2016 17:41 PM
By: Times News Service
Kenyan police fire teargas at opposition leaders, supporters

Nairobi/Mombasa: 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.
Meanwhile, an accident involving trucks blocked the highway from Kenya's Indian Ocean port of Mombasa for more than 14 hours on Sunday and Monday, choking East Africa's main trade route as traffic backed up for 60 km (40 miles) in either direction, police said.
Mombasa handles imports such as fuel and other vital goods for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and interruption of traffic along the highway could affect regional business.
Queues began forming at about 8pm local time on Sunday after three trucks were involved in an accident in the Salama area about 100km (65 miles) from the capital Nairobi.
Police and truckers stuck on the road said although the traffic had started moving slowly, queues were now almost 60 km long on both sides, worsened by overlapping motorists.
"I left Nairobi yesterday morning and over 24 hours later, I am not even half way to Mombasa," Alfred Ngesa, a truck driver returning to Mombasa from Kampala, Uganda, where he had delivered steel metal, told Reuters.
"I am supposed to make two trips this week, but this traffic will mess up my schedule."
Police deployed cranes to clear the blockage which included a fuel truck that had burnt down after the accident.
"Our officers have been at the affected areas the whole night and right now at least there is some slow movement. By this evening, everything should certainly be back to normal," said Jacinta Muthoni, the Kenya Police traffic commandant.
In November, a similar blockage on the same highway took 60 hours to clear.
Port officials in Mombasa said it was too early to feel an impact of the blockage on cargo uptake from the port.
"If the jam continues, it will eventually begin to slow down our operations," said Bernard Osero, the Mombasa port corporate affairs manager.