A rally against the new draft constitution in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park in the very center of the city ended in tragedy, when reportedly 5 people were killed instantly and over 70 injured in two explosions.

The rally, jointly organized by political opponents of the new draft constitution and religious leaders, was duly licensed by authorities, was very well attended, and proceeded peacefully until the first blast struck, and according to reports from Nairobi a second blast occurred not long afterwards.
The violent end to this rally brought up instant memories of the nasty post election violence, when ethnic groups and political opponents settled scores in the streets over allegedly stolen election results, a matter now receiving due attention by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where indictments are expected to be filed soon against key ringleaders, whose bloody handiwork cost well over a thousand lives at the time.

The new draft constitution has met with resistance in political quarters, including government ministers and also across civil society and the religious leadership of the country, setting the stage for a hardly-fought referendum due to be held later in the year. Yet, both sides agree that the country is in urgent need of a new constitution, while they disagree over a number of issues where the “no camp” has demanded amendments to the draft, something the proponents have rejected because of time.

It was pointed out to this correspondent that no tourists had come to harm although the venue was close to several high-class tourist hotels.

Tourism sources in Kenya also played down the incident, tragic as it was, saying that the recovery of the sector would not be unduly affected by the blast, but the same sources were cautious when asked about the potential for more such incidents in the run-up to the referendum and what impact that could have on the just-revived tourism industry for Kenya.