Saturday, June 22News That Matters

Kenyatta’s livestock attacked on day of protests.

Crowds have reportedly set fire to parts of a farm owned by the family of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, apparently in retaliation for another day of fierce opposition protests.
There were no police in sight and some of the looters were carrying machetes.
Others were felling trees, and many of the people on site had been bussed in.
Many businesses near the farm and in the city centre remained closed all day. A gas factory linked to opposition leader Raila Odinga has also been vandalised.
Mr Odinga, who is allied to Mr Kenyatta, has told our reporter the attack on the former president’s farm was carried out by thugs hired by the government. Kenya’s government has not commented on the allegation.
Post-election violence is nothing new in Kenya. But attacks on the property of political leaders signals a big shift.
At least one person has been killed in the protests in the western city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, where police fired tear gas at protesters who burnt tyres and barricaded major roads.
Since the protests began last week, at least three people have been killed in the violence.
In Nairobi’s Kibera neighbourhood, where Mr Odinga enjoys huge support, police have fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters.
Mr Odinga and his Azimio la Umoja coalition first called for demonstrations earlier this month to protest against government failures to curb rising prices, and what he says was the fraudulent victory of President William Ruto in last year’s election.
Even though that win was upheld by Kenya’s highest court, Mr Odinga insists that the election was “stolen” and has called for protests every Monday and Thursday.
The main men in this political tussle have all worked with each other at some point.
Mr Odinga is a former prime minister who has run for president unsuccessfully five times. As ex-President Kenyatta’s tenure neared its end, he chose to back his former rival Mr Odinga instead of his own deputy Mr Ruto.
Back in 2007 Mr Ruto was Mr Odinga’s running mate in that presidential election, which was won by Mr Kenyatta.
The Kenyatta family is one of Kenya’s biggest landowners. Kenya’s political and business elites are tiny in number and often closely linked.
There is often a sort of gentleman’s agreement after each election cycle between opposing sides. Attacks on property owned by political leaders, even though we don’t know how they were organised, call that general understanding into question.
Some looters at the Kenyatta family farm claimed they were getting even for business losses caused by protests organised by Mr Odinga and allegedly sponsored by Mr Kenyatta.

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