Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the Kenyan capital demanding election reforms on Monday, as a rights group said at least 37 people were killed in three days of protests that followed a presidential vote on August 8 that was voided.
Last month the Supreme Court nullified incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August win due to procedural irregularities. Kenya is due to repeat the presidential election on Oct. 26, pitting Kenyatta against opposition leader Raila Odinga.
But Odinga’s opposition alliance is threatening to boycott the poll unless the election board changes some personnel. The uncertainty has created political turmoil in the east African nation, which is a regional trade hub and staunch Western ally.
Opposition senator James Orengo said demonstrators also wanted to warn ruling party lawmakers not to pass a proposed amendment to the election law that would limit the circumstances in which the Supreme Court could void an election on procedural grounds.
“If parliament passes the law tomorrow, it will be like declaring war on the Kenyan people,” he said.
Shots were fired in the air as the demonstrators marched towards the election board, and police on horseback set up blockades to prevent them from accessing some roads.
A police crackdown during three days of protests following the August 8 polls killed at least 37 people, the government-backed Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said in a report released on Monday, the highest death toll yet given.
Some deaths were “attributed to police using live bullets and a few from police bludgeoning using clubs,” the report said. It named a 6-month-old baby girl, a 7-year-old boy, and an 8-year-old girl as victims.