Nairobi, Kenya – Demonstrations erupted in Kenya’s largest slum in Nairobi’s Kibera on Tuesday over footage appearing to show a pro-government politician saying top opposition leader Raila Odinga can be assassinated.
Kibera, an opposition stronghold, witnessed the protests, with supporters of Odinga burning tyres and wooden sticks.
Analysts say that the remarks reflect long-simmering tribal tensions that are heating up again, eight years after they exploded into violence that left more than 1,000 people dead in the aftermath of a disputed presidential election. Kenya is holding general elections next year.
A mock coffin marked with the name of the politician, Moses Kuria, was burned during Tuesday’s protests, said the head of the Orange Democratic Party in Kibera slum, Sam Ochieng. Odinga is the party’s leader.
Kuria and seven other politicians have been questioned by police over remarks that police say may amount to hate speech. The legislators include four opposition members of parliament who threatened to storm the office of the police chief if he doesn’t take action against Kuria.
In the video, shot at a party over the weekend, Kuria apparently refers to recent opposition demonstrations for changes in electoral commission, which the protesters accuse of corruption and bias.
“He should be careful because he can as well bite a bullet,” Kuria says. “We won’t be disturbed by one person. He can bite a bullet, we bury him the next Monday, they [Odinga supporters] throw stones for one week and life continues, isn’t it so?” He made the remarks in his mother tongue,