The main opposition party in Kenya, ODM, has announced that it will go ahead with its scheduled protest rally tomorrow in Nairobi in defiance of a government ban on all political rallies. Kenya has in the last three days witnessed the worst kind of violence in its 44-year history due to disputed results of the just concluded presidential election.
The government insists that the incumbent won while the main opposition party believes that they were unjustly denied victory through rigging. Observers, both local and international, and the electoral commission of Kenya have said that there were irregularities in the tallying of results and that this might have influenced the outcome of the polls.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Wednesday that his party will not relent in its quest to have Kibaki resign. He also set this as a pre-condition for any level of dialogue between him and the president.
And to complicate matters further, the head of the electoral commission said Wednesday that he doesn’t know who won last Thursday election and that he announced the results while under duress from the government.
As the politicians remain stubborn and unwilling to resolve the impasse, ordinary Kenyans are the ones bearing the brunt of the stalemate. The death toll this far is believed to be over 300 and property worth millions of shillings destroyed. Shops remain closed and those that have opened ran out of supplies as people rushed in to stock up.
Thrusday’s opposition rally will be a real test for both sides of the political divide and may determine the course of events in this formerly peaceful and stable country in East Africa.
Many concerned Africans have expressed shock and disappointment as one of the rare working models of democracy and economic development on the continent goes up in flames infront of their eyes. The African Union president John Kofuor of Ghana is scheduled to jet into the country on Thursday to try and mediate between the president and his opposition rival.