21 January 2013

Kenya: Violence Erupts As Kenyan Parties Scramble to Meet Nomination Deadline

Kenyan political parties scrambled to resolve outstanding issues before the nomination deadline on Monday (January 21st) as violent reactions to the polling exercise erupted around the country, Kenya's Capital FM reported.

Violence broke out in several areas across the country, including demonstrations in Kisumu county over the Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) nomination of Prime Minister Raila Odinga's sister Ruth Adhiambo, and in Siaya county over the nomination of Odinga's brother Oburu Odinga, also by the ODM.

On Monday, Ruth Odinga said she had stepped down from consideration of the gubernatorial seat "for the sake of peace in the country and Kisumu in particular", Kenya's The Standard reported.

Roads leading to Kisumu had been blocked and transport was paralysed by the demonstrators who built bonfires on the Kisumu-Kakamega road.

No ODM elections were held in Kisumu or Homa Bay due to the violence, ODM election board chairman Franklin Bett said, adding that the party thus had the right to choose candidates. He said that the party's dispute resolution board will look at the election results and announce the nomination contest winners on Monday.

Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia urged Kenyans to exercise restraint while parties compiled nominations.

"Those who take the law into their hands and destroy property must be arrested. Provincial Security Intelligence Committee Nyanza and other areas must and should do whatever it takes to ensure stoppage of arson, violence and criminality," he said. "Violence can never be a solution or option for a mature democratic culture and peoples."

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