NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Three people were seriously wounded during opposition demonstrations for changes to Kenya’s electoral commission before fresh presidential elections later this month, a witness said Monday.
An Associated Press reporter said he saw one man get shot and by a man in a car who then hit and injured two other protesters before driving away. Riot police watched as the incident unfolded, the witness said. Police are investigating the shooting and hit and run incident, said Nairobi Central chief Harrison Thuku.
The three were wounded as the government’s human rights group said at least 37 people were killed by police in three days of protests following the announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election in the August vote.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for countrywide protests to urge reforms to the electoral commission ahead of the Oct. 26 rerun of the elections. The Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election citing illegalities in the August 8 vote and the electoral commission’s refusal to allow scrutiny of its computer system. Justices said that by failing to allow the investigation of the computers the commission failed to disprove Odinga’s claim that hackers infiltrated the servers and altered the vote in favor of Kenyatta.
Kenyatta has said he does not want changes to the electoral commission. His Jubilee Party has instead used its parliamentary majority to pass changes in the electoral law ahead of the Oct. 26 that the opposition says are meant to make the transmission of results a manual process that has less safeguards against electoral fraud and makes it more difficult for the Supreme Court to annul a presidential election. Odinga has threatened to boycott the fresh elections if the electoral commission is not reformed.
Kenya introduced electronic transmission of results in the 2013 elections to curb rigging after the flawed polls of 2007 sparked off ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and 600,000 evicted from their homes.
On Monday, opposition protests were held in Nairobi, Machakos, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kakamega and Mombasa counties. In Nairobi, more than 3,000 protesters held demonstrations at the electoral commission headquarters while carrying placards saying “No Reforms, No elections.” Police tear-gassed demonstrators in the country’s second and third largest cities Kisumu and Mombasa and also Machakos.
The government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said it has documented 37 deaths, including a six 6-month-old baby who was clobbered by armed security agents in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu County during protests by Odinga supporters who rejected Kenyatta’s victory. Human rights groups have accused Kenyatta of using security agents to suppress opposition demonstrations.