Blasts at Kenya rally kill five, injure 82

June 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – Five people were killed in the Kenyan capital on Sunday evening after two explosions ripped through a campaign rally organised by Churches to drum up support for rejection of the proposed Constitution.

Dr Peter Wanyoike of the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) confirmed the fatalities and said 78 more victims were undergoing treatment at the health facility.

"Ten of the patients are in a serious condition and another four have been rushed to (the) Nairobi Hospital bringing the total number to 82," he said.

Initial police reports suggested that petrol bombs or a grenade had been hurled into the crowd.

The rally at Nairobi\’s Uhuru Park was drawing to a close when two explosions rang out at about 7pm.

The rally had been addressed by several Members of Parliament (MP\’s) among them William Ruto and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru.  Several church leaders opposed to the new law were also present.

The clergy and politicians immediately condemned the incident and vowed that they would not be shaken in their quest to reject the proposed Constitution during the August 4 referendum.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and police chief Mathew Iteere were among high ranking government officials who visited KNH following the incident.

Mr Odinga immediately played down allegations that those in the Yes camp may have had a hand in the blasts and said investigations were underway.

"This incident is very unfortunate but it\’s isolated, it should not be linked to referendum campaigns," he said.

But church leaders immediately pointed fingers at the Yes camp.

"It\’s definitely someone in the Yes camp and I don\’t know who," said Pastor James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism after visiting patients at KNH.

Mr Musyoka sent a statement to newsrooms before personally heading to KNH at about 2100GMT where he urged Kenyans to remain calm as the government works to establish the motive and those behind the incident.

Uhuru Park rally

Earlier, the Christian and political leaders at the Uhuru Park prayer meeting urged Kenyans to vote against the proposed constitution during the referendum.

"We are being asked to pass this constitution hurriedly, but take time and ask yourself why they are pushing us to speedily pass the new law," posed Bishop Kariuki.

They also took issue with the endorsement of the new law by US Vice President Joe Biden during his recent tour in Kenya.

"What is it in this new constitution that has attracted Americans until their VP says, pass this law and we will give you money for investment," asked Bishop Kariuki
Said Christ is the Answer Ministries Bishop David Oginde; "I think it\’s very unfortunate that we can sell our country so that we can get a constitution based on some very shaky foundation."

Political leaders present also told the gathering that the envisaged law was likely to divide Kenyans, though they did not elaborate.

“We want a constitution that\’s going to unite us and to do so is to vote No on August 4," said Higher Education Minister William Ruto.

He said the No camp was optimistic that they would emerge victorious in the plebiscite.

"If God is for us, who can be against us," asked Mr Ruto to wild cheers from the crowd.


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