Kenya: Coffins used to protest corruption


Kenyan police look at mock coffins left by members of Kenya Ni Kwetu (Kenya Is Ours) outside parliament on June 28, 2012 after taking to the streets of Nairobi with the aim of protesting the culture of impunity by members of parliament.



Demonstrators in Nairobi left mock coffins at the gates of parliament to bury "years of impunity," calling politicians out on their corruption and demanding change ahead of next year's elections.

About 200 protesters left 49 coffins at the parliament building to mark the number of years Kenya has been independent of British colonial rule, reported Agence France-Presse. Some were waving signs 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 organizer, according to AFP. "We need young Kenyans to vote and know who they vote for."

Kenya has been haunted by multiple corruption scandals since it gained independence in 1963 but, even with promises made to crack down on impunity, high-level suspects are rarely held accountable for their actions, according to Kenya's Capital News.

"For quite a long time, we had leaders who exploited us," said demonstrator Edwin Ochieng to Capital News. "We ask for an accountable leadership."

According to AFP, Kenya is due to hold its first general election since deadly violence erupted post-vote fours years ago in March 2013.

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Capital News reported that Kisumu Town East member of parliament Shakeel Shabir met demonstrators outside the parliament building and encouraged them to take advantage of the freedom guaranteed by the current constitution.

"This is your right. During the previous tenure you could not demonstrate, you could have been forcefully dispersed. We now have a say as earlier the country had its owners," said Shabir.