Kenya: Controversial election laws passed amid protests


Protests followed news of Kenya's parliament on Wednesday passing controversial changes to the election law just weeks ahead of controversial repeat presidential polls.

One of the changes would overturn the current law banning unchallenged presidential wins, saying instead that if one candidate withdraws, leaving a single candidate remaining, that candidate would automatically become president.

The change came on the heels of opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrawing from the race, throwing the election in doubt, and possibly making the incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the automatic winner.

Polls are currently scheduled for Oct. 26, after Kenyatta's victory in Aug. 8 polls was overturned by the Supreme Court last month, calling for fresh, above-board elections.

Police in the Kenyan capital teargassed thousands of opposition demonstrators marching to the headquarters of Kenya's electoral commission protesting 12 of its members who allegedly aided the Jubilee government in rigging the August polls.

A police vehicle was seen running over a protester who was left with serious injuries and rushed to hospital by Red Cross officials who were in the vicinity.

James Orengo, an opposition leader who led the Wednesday protests, announced that next week nationwide protests will be held every day until the 12 officials step down.

During the protests, people could be seen looting restaurants and snatching phones from unsuspecting bystanders.

Businessmen like Salim Ali at Jamia Mosque told Anadolu Agency that they are suffering during the protests.

"They robbed a friend's shop," he said.

"They stole things from his shop once a teargas canister was fired. Next week I am not coming to work, I will not open my shop, the protests are hurting us and our economy, we need them to stop."

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