Four Killed As Protests Over Kenyan Election Escalate


At least four people were killed in election-related unrest in Kenya on Wednesday after opposition candidate Raila Odinga alleged that the election was rigged in favor of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Results released by the Kenyan electoral commission on Wednesday, one day after the election, showed that Mr. Kenyatta was leading the race with 54 percent of the vote over his challenger’s 44.7 percent. The results came from 96 percent of polling stations, indicating that the incumbent would emerge victorious.

Mr. Odinga then claimed that the election was “hacked” and compromised by massive fraud. While he urged his supporters to be peaceful, he said he could not control what they do.

Protests subsequently broke out in areas most loyal to Mr. Odinga and his National Super Alliance (NASA).

AFP reports that two protesters were shot dead in the Mathare slum in Nairobi. Police also used tear gas on demonstrators.

Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome told AFP that the two protesters shot dead had attempted to attack police officers, causing the officers to respond with live fire.

Two more people were killed in the Tana River region in the southeastern part of the country. The police chief in that region told AFP that they had attacked a voting station with knives and stabbed one person.

SaharaReporters reported earlier on Wednesday that one protester was killed during protests in the NASA stronghold of Kisii County. In the same county, a candidate running for Member of County Assembly (MCA), Frank Mirina, was kidnapped in broad daylight as he made his way to his local polling station.

A SaharaReporters correspondent in Nairobi observed on Wednesday evening that the capital city was quiet and virtually empty.

Chepkirui Koech, a Nairobi local, told our correspondent that the city “didn’t feel safe, especially after Raila rejected the results that were announced.”

 

A week before the election was held, the information technology manager of the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Chris Msando, was found dead.

The murder of Mr. Msando coupled with Wednesday’s unrest have heightened anxieties over a massive eruption of violence. In 2007/2008, 1,100 Kenyans were killed in post-election violence.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, acting as an election observer for the Carter Center Observer Delegation, announced that the IEBC is “strong.” He urged Kenyans to be patient while the commission finishes counting ballots.



 



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