NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday called for a temporary halt to anti-government protests after President William Ruto urged his opponents to negotiate with him.
In a move to halt brewing disenchantment, Ruto said he wants to hold talks with opponents to discuss how members of Kenya’s electoral commission are chosen. The commission’s responsibilities include conducting national elections and declaring the winners. The opposition has also accused the electoral body of tampering with election results and is demanding that the body give access to its computers.
Odinga disputed Ruto’s2022 victory, but the country’s Supreme Court upheld it. Odinga said the opposition would not hold planned demonstrations on Monday – but warned that they would resume if the government does not resolve the issues.
Last week’s protests were violent and left one police officer and four protesters dead. Businesses in the capital, Nairobi, were affected, and some looting took place during the demonstrations. Other businesses were forced to close twice last week. Private businesses and places of worship were burned down.
The rising cost of living is also among the issues the opposition want government to address.
Religious groups had urged the government and opposition to give dialogue a chance to prevent the country from descending into post-election violence that left more than 1,200 people dead in 2007.
Kenya’s opposition has a history of calling for major protests that have in the past led to deaths and crippled the economy.
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