Several hurt in protests as Kenya election officials mull next move

Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka

Odinga withdrew from the race Tuesday, saying the electoral commission had not fixed problems with the voting process and that new laws introduced in parliament strongly favored the ruling party.

On Wednesday, the election board said the polls would be held as planned and all eight of the original candidates would be on the ballot.

Based on the Supreme Court's decision, Mr Kenyatta can not run alone on the ballot or be sworn in automatically, said Ndungu Wainaina, executive director of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict.

Kenya's supreme court nullified the presidential election in August, citing procedural irregularities and voiding the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Odinga's withdrawal this week has thrown the country into political turmoil.

But in an interview in London, Odinga told the AP he's willing to return if that changes. "We must respect the law", he said.

He said: "that law also goes on to say that if one of the candidates dies or pulls out, the election commission is obligated to carry out fresh nominations".

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

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Bondo lawmaker Gideon Ochanda condemned the killings, saying the police should exercise restraint as they disperse the demonstrators.

"We can not go on this way". Odinga demanded deep reforms that the election commission (IEBC) said were impossible to deliver in the constitutionally mandated period.

Odinga challenged the decision in the Supreme Court, which ruled that Kenyatta had won fairly.

Hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of Kenya's main cities Friday in defiance of a government ban on protests as the country is gripped by uncertainty over its presidential election.

Supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga have been holding regular demonstrations in Mombasa, Kisumu, and the capital Nairobi to push for election reforms before the October 26 re-run of Kenya's presidential election.

In a statement, Kenya's Interior Minister said the ban on protests was put in place Thursday because the demonstrations present a "clear, present, and imminent danger".

"(The government) are talking about a benevolent dictatorship - we can assure them that the people of Kenya will not take it lying down", Odinga said. "I support the exercise of their fundamental right".

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