Kenyan police clash with anti-government protesters
KONFRONTASI-Police in Kenya have used teargas and batons to disperse hundreds of anti-corruption protesters in the East African country’s capital.
Violence erupted on Thursday when protesters in their hundreds took to the streets in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, shouting anti-government slogans in response to reports and accusations by the opposition about graft and abuse of funds in the country’s public healthcare.
The Health Ministry in Kenya has dismissed the charges.
Witnesses said police had fired volleys of teargas canisters and officers in riot gear had charged the crowd, beating some with batons.
“Today’s event is a demonstration against theft of public funds especially by government, but it’s also an event that is really meant to bring to the fore the failure of our government, the failure of our president, who publicly indicated that he is not able to do anything against corruption,” a protester said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is blamed for corruption in the country and seeks a second term in office in the election next year, has made a campaign pledge to clamp down on corruption; however, opponents say he has been slow to act and failed to stop high-level graft.
Kenyatta has indicated previously that the fight against corruption has “frustrated” him.
Another Kenyan participating in the Thursday protest said, “We supported the government before, but they let us down. Children are dying in hospitals because of corruption.”
Corruption and graft scandals are seen as a major deterrent to investors in the East African country and a daily frustration to ordinary citizens.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has accused Kenyatta of committing crimes against humanity for inciting ethnic violence after the 2007 elections which killed some 1,200 people.[mr/ptv]