Kenyan police use teargas to disperse opposition protesters

Kenyan police use teargas to disperse opposition protesters

Kenyan police use teargas to disperse opposition protesters

Election officials have been locked in crisis meetings since the decision, as debate raged over what Odinga's move could mean for a dramatic election saga that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8 victory annulled by the Supreme Court. Odinga's decision is likely to set the stage for more court battles, while deepening a political crisis that has also led to an economic slowdown.

A regional and trade gateway, Kenya is East Africa's richest economy and an important Western ally in the fight against militant Islamists in the region.

"This ban, announced just two weeks ahead of a fraught repeat presidential election, is likely to become a basis for heavy-handed police crackdowns", said Michelle Kagari, a deputy regional director with Amnesty International.

But in an interview in London, Odinga told the AP he's willing to return if that changes.

The opposition leader said he could return to the Supreme Court to seek a clarification, but if the IEBC went ahead with the October 26 election it would be "in breach of the law".

Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has pursued changes to the electoral law that the opposition says will make it more hard for the Supreme Court to nullify a presidential election and will reduce safeguards against electoral fraud.

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Many observers agreed the 2007 election was deeply flawed, and it triggered politically motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead.

Opposition legislator James Orengo said the law will lower safeguards against vote-rigging by making the preferred system of transmitting election results a manual one. "We condemn the directive. on the limitation of our rights to demonstrate". On Wednesday Kenya's national assembly - dominated by the ruling Jubilee party - approved a series of electoral law changes that Odinga has argued will make the "irregularities" cited by the Supreme Court, legal.

"If need be we will go for clarification".

Kenyan officials have banned street protests in the nation's three largest cities, just days after the main opposition leader dropped out of the upcoming presidential election because of concerns the voting process would not be fair.

Security Minister Fred Matiangi on Thursday banned rallies in the centre of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, accusing opposition supporters of lawlessness after incidents in which property was destroyed, passers-by robbed or assaulted, and business disrupted.

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