Wednesday, 9 August 2017

VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN KENYA

Despite a massive security deployment and calls for peace by Kenya’s main politicians, unrest has broken out in some parts of Kenya after leading opposition politician Raila Odinga alleged that the electoral commission (IEBC) has been penetrated by computer hackers who rigged the vote against him.

Odinga is behind in the IEBC’s preliminary results based on 14.6 million ballots counted, which show President Uhuru Kenyatta well on his way to winning a second term in office with 54.7 percent of the vote to Odinga’s 44.8 percent.

As the sun rose on Wednesday, Odinga supporters in Kisumu, a stronghold of his on the shores of Lake Victoria, stood in angry knots on street corners, puzzling over the news.


“Something is cooking,” said Steven Okeda, a 37-year-old primary school teacher. “What we are saying is, Uhuru Kenyatta has stolen the election and we will not accept that.”
By late morning, the tension had boiled over in Kisumu’s poor Kondele neighbourhood, and in some parts of the capital Nairobi.

Both areas were scenes of terrible violence after a disputed presidential vote in 2007 that degenerated into two months of politically motivated ethnic bloodshed and left 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

And in both cities on Wednesday, protesters chanted “No Raila, no peace”, their rallying cry after the 2007 and 2013 elections which Odinga claims were stolen from him.

In Kisumu, a police helicopter hovered overhead as officers engaged in running battles with protesters, who would disperse as officers advanced, only to then re-emerge and re-group minutes later.

“If Raila is not president, we can’t have peace,” one protester told AFP shortly before tear gas again sent the crowd running. Later in the day police fired rubber bullets.

Kenya's electoral commission seems to have "discharged its responsibilities" in accordance with the law, the head of the African Union (AU) observer mission, Thabo Mbeki, has said.
Mr Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, added that Kenya's judiciary was "well-prepared" to deal with any disputes that may arise from the poll.

Opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga has alleged that the commission's IT system was hacked, and the result manipulated to give victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The commission has promised to investigate the allegations.


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