Demonstrators in the Kenyan capital Thursday left mock coffins at the gates of parliament to bury “years of impunity,” charging political rulers with corruption and calling for change ahead of elections due next year.
Around 200 protestors left 49 coffins — marking the number of years of Kenya’s independence from British colonial rule — at the parliament building and waved placards with slogans such as “Wanted, leaders who pay taxes.”
“We have a present for MPs : 49 coffins for 49 years of impunity in this country,” said Boniface Mwangi, a photographer and demonstration organiser.
“We need young Kenyans to vote and know who they vote for,” he added.
Kenya has been mired in multiple corruption scandals since independence in 1963, but despite political promises to crack down on graft, high level suspects have seldom faced justice.
“For quite a long time, we had leaders who exploited us,” said Edwin Ochieng, a demonstrator in the peaceful protest, where there was a small uniformed police presence. “We ask for an accountable leadership.”
Kenya is due to hold the first general election since deadly post-poll violence fours years ago in March 2013.
“We want a peaceful ballot revolution,” one placard read. “Wanted: competent leaders,” read another.
Kenya plunged into violence after the December 27, 2007 general election in which Odinga — then opposition chief, now prime minister — accused Kibaki as the incumbent president of having rigged his re-election.
What began as political riots soon turned into ethnic killings targeting members of Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe.
The Kikuyu in turn launched reprisal attacks in which homes were torched and people hacked to death in the country’s worst violence since independence in 1963.
Kibaki will not contest the next election.
Two presidential hopefuls, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former minister William Ruto, face trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity over the post-election killings, charges they deny.
They face counts including orchestrating murder, rape and persecution in the aftermath of the poll. The trial date has not been set.