NAIROBI, KENYA - Opposition leader Raila Odinga's supporters demonstrated in Nairobi and other parts of the country Monday, engaging police in running battles.
Protesters criticized the high cost of living, alleged electoral irregularities, and alleged corruption in the government of President William Ruto.
Kenyan police dispersed demonstrators in Nairobi with tear gas and water cannons, and at least one person was shot. The Odinga motorcade also was targeted with tear gas as it approached the Kenyatta International Conference Center.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga speaks to supporters on a street in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, March 20, 2023.
Simon Kamau traveled from Machakos country to Nairobi to participate in the protest. He said he was demonstrating because of the high price of maize flour, and to demand that the electoral commission open its servers.
Another protester, Petit Musa, said the Ruto government must prove it won the election fairly. He said he wants the manual and electronic presidential results to be released so the people can tell whether the Ruto government is legitimate. He also wants the government to lower the prices of food.
Ruto defeated Odinga, his main challenger, in the August presidential election by a narrow margin.
The Kenyan Supreme Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the election was rigged. Odinga maintains that the electoral commission wrongfully denied him the presidency.
A protester throws rocks towards police in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, March 20, 2023.
Joseph Otiende, a Nairobi fishmonger, said there was no business Monday due to the protest.
'All my business is not going on and I am starving with my family,' he said. 'There is nowhere I can get money, so why do Ruto and Raila dialogue and things will go on as usual.'
Kenya's deputy president Rigathi Gachagua said Monday's protest has impacted shops in Nairobi's central business district.
'This morning, because of a lack of business in the CBD, the country has lost almost 2 billion shillings in terms of business and this is money that should be circulating in the economy,' Gachagua said. 'We want to urge these people to consider this afternoon to call off the chaos, the mayhem, the intimidation because what they are doing they are destroying our economy.'
Police beat a protester who had hidden in a shack, after police threw a tear gas grenade inside to force him out, in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, March 20, 2023.
Opposition member of parliament Opiyo Wandayi said the protests will go on.
'It will be extremely successful and this will go on indefinitely. There is no end time until all the demands are met,' Wandayi said.
Odinga told his supporters in Nairobi there would be protests every Monday.