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Kenya's Cord MPs storm out over 'fight'

BBC African News
Cord MPs went straight to court after leaving parliament
Cord MPs went straight to court after leaving parliament

KENYA-Opposition MPs in Kenya have stormed out of parliament in the capital, Nairobi, saying that they have been assaulted in the house.

The chaos came during a debate on changing the electoral laws to allow manual vote-counting for next year's presidential election.

The government wants a back-up to the electronic system but the opposition says it is a way of rigging the poll. The initial debate on Tuesday also saw rival MPs exchange punches.Kenyan politics is known to be highly partisan and this is not the first time MPs have fought in parliament. In 2014, four lawmakers were assaulted and one had his shirt 

The opposition Cord coalition said one of its MPs had a bloody face following Thursday's confrontations with MPs from the governing Jubilee party.

After leaving parliament, some Cord MPs went to court to seek an injunction to block the changes. In their absence, government-allied MPs passed the amendments.

Cord has now called for mass action on 4 January 2017 to protest over the new law. When the fights first broke out on Tuesday evening, the live video feed from parliament was cut and journalists were ordered out of the press gallery.

Thursday's session was also not broadcast on national TV and at least one journalist was briefly detained for filming proceedings. During that debate, Cord MP Millie Odhiambo attacked President Uhuru Kenyatta, calling him "extremely stupid".

Mr Kenyatta gave his initial response to that attack at an event to usher in the festive season, saying "some idiots continue to insult me" but added that it was part of their freedom.

But Mr Kenyatta seems to have now ended his war of words with Ms Odhiambo, as a local media station on Wednesday shared a picture of a Christmas card from the president addressed to the MP.


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