9 August 2017

Kenya: Police, Protesters Clash After Poll Fraud Claim

Police in Kenya have fired tear gas and shot at a group of chanting supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga after the presidential candidate claimed “massive” fraud in Tuesday’s elections.

Leonard Katana, a regional police commander, said Wednesday's shooting took place when protesters clashed with security forces in South Mugirango constituency in Kisii County, the Associated Press reported, adding that one person was killed in the incident.

Earlier, Odinga rejected the partial results of the presidential polls, saying hackers infiltrated the database of Kenya's election body to manipulate the "democratic process".

The opposition leader said that he could not reveal his sources on how he got the information on the alleged hacking.

In a press briefing that took place in the capital Nairobi, the presidential candidate said his party's results are "completely different" from those published on election commission website.

The contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta, a wealthy 55-year-old businessman, and Odinga, 72, a former political prisoner and son of Kenya's first vice president, has been a hard-fought election that stoked fears of possible violence.

On Wednesday morning, the election commission website showed Kenyatta leading with 54.4 percent of the votes against 44.8 percent for Odinga, a margin of nearly 1.4 million votes, after 94 percent of the votes were counted.

The roads of the country's biggest slum, Nairobi's opposition stronghold of Kibera, remained empty on Wednesday afternoon.

Simeon Otieno, a 33-year-old father of three, stood near his house looking tensed.

"Everyone is staying home. Baba [Odinga] asked people to be calm but it is very difficult. We hope he wins but they always changed the result to deny him victory," Otieno, a labourer, told Al Jazeera.

"This election is the same as 2007. They stole his votes and that caused a lot of problem. I hope nothing happens but we are all tensed."

At the other end of the slum, Nancy Odongo sat in front of the shop where she works. The door, however, was locked.

"I hope this ends quickly because we need to go back to work and feed our families," the mother of two said.

"Elections are always bad news for us poor people. I have to pay bills and feed my children. I don't care who wins."

Hussein Ibrahim, a father of eight, pointed to the long line of shops that were closed.

"There is tension after every election. That's why all these shops are closed and why no one is coming out of their homes," Ibrahim said.

"No one is going out because they don't know what could happen next."

Kenyatta camp denies claims

Raphael Tunju, secretary-general of Kenyatta's Jubilee party, earlier shrugged off the fraud allegations made by the Odinga camp.

"I don't expect anything else from NASA," he said, referring to Odinga's National Super Alliance party.

"Let's put it this way, if the results which are being streamed showed that they were leading what would they be saying now?"

Election officials on Tuesday acknowledged the opposition objection but defended their actions.

"We believe that by displaying results, we have been doing well to enhance transparency and accountability in the electoral process, consistent with the commitment the commission has made to the Kenya people," said Commissioner Consalata Bucha Nkatha Maina, vice chairwoman of the election commission.

The commission's CEO, Ezra Chiloba, also said a results screen at the commission's counting centre had frozen because too much data was being received and that tallies would be updated later Wednesday morning.

During the 2013 polls, Odinga alleged fraud but quelled unrest by taking his complaints to the courts.

This time, the government deployed more than 150,000 security personnel, including wildlife rangers, to protect 41,000 polling stations.

Additional reporting by Hamza Mohamed in Nairobi: @Hamza_Africa

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