NAIROBI The Kenyan government said on Tuesday it had banned all opposition protests against the country's electoral body after an escalation of violence at rallies held every Monday since early April.
Kenya is not due to hold its next presidential election until August 2017. But tensions have been rising amid clashes between security forces and opposition leaders and their supporters who accuse senior officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of favouring President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The opposition coalition for reform and democracy (CORD), led by Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's main rival, also says the IEBC is incompetent, citing failure of voter verification equipment in the last poll.
In a statement, the government accused the demonstrators of destroying both private and public property worth millions during the protests.
"To avert further violence, destruction of property and loss of life, from today the government prohibits all unlawful demonstrations in the country," said the statement, issued by the interior ministry.
On Monday security forces clashed with opposition supporters who were trying to march on the offices of IEBC in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu in western Kenya.
In those riots, two people were killed and 50 people, including both civilians and security personnel, were injured, the statement said.
Western ambassadors have accused the police of using excessive force and have called for dialogue in the east African nation, which is prone to political violence.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Louise Ireland and Gareth Jones)
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