1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Kenya: Opposition holds protests after failed negotiations

May 2, 2023

Kenya's opposition leader has been mobilizing protests against President Ruto, who was voted in last year. Protests were halted for a month, only to resume after a negotiation impasse.

Proteste in Nairobi Kenia
Protesters clashed with police in the capital NairobiImage: John Ochieng/SOPA/ZUMA/picture alliance

Kenyan police met a small group of opposition protesters with tear gas in the capital Nairobi on Tuesday, as supporters of the main opposition coalition returned to the streets.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has recently been leading demonstrations against what he describes as fraud in last year's election. The election brought President William Ruto to power, marking Odinga's fifth presidential election defeat.

Kenyan President William Ruto slams opposition

Kenya is often seen as a beacon of democracy in the region.

But in 2007-2008, the country witnessed post-election ethnic fighting which left over 1200 killed, as per UN figures, again after Odinga emerged as the runner-up.

Why is the opposition protesting?

Odinga's Azimio la Umoja (One Kenya) coalition organized in March three days of protests, which devolved into clashes with the police and sporadic incidents of violence.

Protests were held against last year's election results, as well as the cost of living crisis.

The protests were suspended in early April, with talks scheduled between Odinga and Ruto's representatives. The opposition leader later announced the talks bore no fruit, accusing Ruto's government of not negotiating in good faith.

In 2008 after the far more serious post-election violence in Kenya, Odinga was named prime minister in a coalition government after UN-mediated talks.

Protests are due to resume on Thursday, when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz kicks off an east Africa tour, which will take him first to Ethiopia then Kenya.

What happened during the protests?

Protests were marred by violence, Kenya's Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said. He said that 46 people were arrested for various criminal acts, reporting incidents of arson and looting in the capital as well as in western Kenya.

Young people set tyres ablaze and blocked several roads, the French AFP news agency reported. Several vehicles were also torched during the protests.

"To ensure the country does not turn into lawlessness, security agencies are fairly instructed to enforce the law firmly and decisively," Kindiki said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Odinga's coalition said some of its parliament representatives were stopped and tear gassed on the way to the president's office.

The police had said on Monday it considered the protests illegal.

Did Raila Odinga use protests for political interest?

rmt/msh (AFP, Reuters)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (in lilac tie) is escorted from the House floor after a Tuesday afternoon vote
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage