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Four killed in Kenya, opposition cries out for election fraud

Ⓒ AFP – MARCO LONGARI – | Residents march near burning barricades in the Mathare
slum in Nairobi on 9 August 2017. They protest against the
results of the presidential election in Kenya.

Four people were killed Wednesday in Kenya in two separate
incidents after opposition opponent Raila Odinga rejected the
provisional results of the presidential election giving the
outgoing Uhuru Kenyatta largely in the lead.

In the aftermath of the election, police fired teargas
grenades against hundreds of demonstrators gathered in
opposition fiefdoms customary for this kind of clashes during
an election period, particularly in Kisumu (west).

But in the Mathare slum, in Nairobi, the police also fired
bullets, killing at least two people.

The chief of police in Nairobi assured that they had tried
to attack police officers “with machetes”. An anonymous
policeman said they were part of a demonstration group, where
robbers would take advantage of the chaos.

In the county of Tana River (southeast), men armed with
knives attacked a polling station where counting was still
ongoing. Two of them were killed by the police. “We have not
yet established the motive,” said Larry Kieng, regional chief
of the police, questioned about a possible attack by Somali
Islamist Shebab, very active in the area.

Ⓒ AFP – Luis TATO – | Kenyan police in Nairobi, August 9, 2017

The electoral commission (IEBC) published on Wednesday
evening the results transmitted electronically by nearly 97% of
the polling stations, crediting the outgoing president Uhuru
Kenyatta of 54.31% of the votes, against 44.81% for Raila
Odinga, on a Total of 14.7 million recorded votes. These
preliminary results have yet to be validated on the basis of
the polling station reports.

“It is a fraud of monumental gravity, there has been no
election,” said Raila Odinga. These accusations, combined with
the demonstrations, re-emerge the specter of the violence of
the 2007 presidential election.

Ⓒ AFP – TONY KARUMBA, SIMON MAINA – | Photomontage made on 7 August of portrait of Kenyan
President Uhuru Kenyattaet of main opposition Raila
Odinga

According to Mr. Kenyatta’s rival, hackers have
“manipulated” the voice counting system thanks to the access
codes of a computer chief of the Electoral Commission murdered
a little more than a week before.

These allegations were however denied in the evening by the
IEBC. “Our system of elections management is secure. There has
been no internal or external interference in our system at any
time before, during or after the vote,” said Ezra Chiloba,
Executive Director of the Commission.

Odinga also called the Kenyans calm before adding, “I do not
control the people.”

– Barricades and burnt tires –

IeBC President Wafula Chebukati stressed that the collection
of original copies of the minutes of each polling station for
the publication of “final” results could take several days.

Meanwhile, in Kisumu (west), one of the opposition
strongholds, hundreds of Mr. Odinga’s supporters erected
barricades and burned tires. “If Raila is not president, we can
not have peace,” vituperated one of them before the tear gas of
the police did not disperse the crowd.

Ⓒ AFP – Fredrik LERNERYD – | Kenyan police fired tear gas at demonstrators
protesting the results of the presidential election in Kisumu on
August 9, 2017

In Nairobi, anti-riot police, deployed in several slums,
intervened in Mathare and Huruma, in the north-east of the
capital.

International observation missions, including those of the
European Union and the African Union, called in a joint
statement “all Kenyan citizens to remain committed to peace and
the integrity of the electoral process.”

Mr. Odinga, a fourth-time candidate in the presidential
election, had been shouting fraud in 2007 at the announcement
of President Mwai Kibaki’s re-election. Kenya then plunged into
two months of politico-ethnic violence and police repression
with 1,100 deaths and more than 600,000 displaced.

In 2013, he also challenged the result, ultimately validated
by the Supreme Court.

– Acrimonious –

Ⓒ AFP – MARCO LONGARI – | Members of the Kenyan police force patrol the Mathare
slum in Nairobi on 9 August 2017 during demonstrations against
the results of the presidential election.

Upstream of the election, with the unprecedented deployment
of more than 150,000 security forces, many observers had
expressed fears of unrest in announcing the results. The 2017
campaign was acrimonious, the opposition accusing the
authorities of preparing fraud.

However, voting was smooth on Tuesday in most of the 41,000
offices. Despite some localized problems, the biometric voter
identification system worked, unlike four years earlier.

The approximately 19.6 million Kenyan voters were also to
elect their deputies, governors, senators, local elected
representatives and women’s representatives to the
Assembly.

Voting in Kenya is more about feelings
of ethnicity than about programs, and MM. Kenyatta (a Kikuyu)
and Odinga (a Luo) had set up two powerful electoral
alliances.

Mr. Kenyatta, 55, and his vice-president William Ruto (a
Kalenjin) had highlighted their economic performance, including
infrastructure development. Raila Odinga denigrated this
balance sheet, posing as a guarantee of a better shared
economic growth.

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