Protests in Nairobi as Uhuru Kenyatta is confirmed as Kenyan president

Mr Kenyatta calls for uniry in acceptance speech after final result in
declared in presidential election

*         <> Catrina
Stewart Nairobi 

*        7 hours ago

Protesters in the Kibera area of Nairobi Getty

Gunshots sounded through Nairobi and properties were set alight after Uhuru
Kenyatta was declared victor in  <>
Kenya’s fiercely-contested presidential elections that the opposition claims
was riddled with irregularities.

Mr Kenyatta of the Jubilee party, who was vying for a second and final term,
won with 54.3 per cent of the vote to Raila Odinga’s 44.7 per cent, a margin
of 1.4 million votes. The winner was required to pass a threshold of 50 per
cent by one vote.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Kenyatta, from the Kikuyu tribe, urged his
opponents and their supporters to set aside their differences and come
together as one nation after what has been a divisive and bitter campaign.
“To our brothers, our worthy competitors, we are not enemies,” he said.  

“Elections come and go, Kenya is here to stay,” he added. “There is no need
for violence.”

In Kibera, where many residents belong to Mr Odinga’s Luo tribe, residents
reported screaming and gunfire, which rang out across parts of the city, and
said that rioters were setting fire to Kikuyu properties. Clashes between
protesters and police were also being reported in Kisumu in western Kenya,
where Mr Odinga enjoys strong support.  

International observers and envoys earlier appealed to the losing side to
accept defeat amid fears that Mr Odinga, who has repeatedly asserted that
the vote was rigged, could incite his supporters to take to the streets in
violent protest.

Kenya, East Africa’s most vibrant and developed democracy, has a history of
tense and disputed elections, when tribal divisions often manifest
themselves into violent unrest. In 2007, flawed elections plunged the
country into its most deadly turmoil in decades, with ethnically-motivated
attacks leaving more than 1,200 people dead, and some 600,000 displaced.

Tensions started to rise as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission (IEBC) delayed its announcement of results while it scrambled to
gather the last remaining vote tally forms from constituencies around the
country. A promised announcement yesterday - three days after the vote took
place - was repeatedly postponed, and finally delivered at around 10.30 pm.

Speaking a few hours before the official announcement, the opposition Nasa
party, whose 72-year-old flagbearer Mr Odinga has claimed he was cheated of
victory in 2007 and 2013 elections, said it rejected both the process and
the result.

“We raised some very serious concerns, they have not responded to them. As
Nasa, we shall not be party to the process they are about to make,” senior
opposition official Musalia Mudavadi said.

James Orengo, a senior election agent for the opposition, said the process
had been a “charade.”

He added that Kenyans had a history of challenging elections. “The Kenyan
people have never disappointed. Every time an election has been stolen, the
Kenyan people have stood up to make sure changes are made to make Kenya a
better place,” he said.

“Nobody should think that this is the end of the matter,” he added. “Going
to court, for us, is not an alternative. We have been there before.“

The opposition’s rejection of the result immediately raised the prospect of
an eruption of violence across the country, with Mr Odinga’s supporters
convinced that the election was theirs for the taking.

But few predict trouble on the scale of 2007, when the Kalenjin and Kikuyu
tribes rose up against each other. Mr Kenyatta, a member of the Kikuyu
elite, and William Ruto of the Kalenjin, subsequently allied with each other
in the 2013 elections as they fought charges of orchestrating the violence
by the International Criminal Court. The charges were later dropped for lack
of evidence - with the two men having denied the charges against them.

Since the preliminary results started trickling out, muted protests have
rocked slum areas in Nairobi, and Kisumu, an opposition stronghold in
western Kenya, in recent days, with at least three people killed. In Kibera,
where poverty-stricken residents live less than half a mile from affluent
suburbs, many said they were waiting for the call to action from the
opposition leader. As of last night, areas of Nairobi were essentially in
lockdown, and patrolled by a heavy security presence.

“The result has not been handled well, and people are worried,” said Kibera
resident Michael Okithi, 26. In the event of a Jubilee win, he predicted,
“there will be chaos. A lot of people will die.”

This election has been seen as an important test case for the IEBC, heavily
tainted in the past by a perception that it was biased towards the ruling
party. At the opposition’s instigation, new commissioners were appointed
ahead of the 2017 polls. Observers have widely praised the electoral process
as the most organised and transparent in the country’s history. More than
40,000 polling stations were equipped with biometric kits, and preliminary
figures streamed live on the electoral body’s website.

As the provisional results from Tuesday’s vote gave Mr Kenyatta a commanding
lead, Mr Odinga’s Nasa party came out the next day to denounce the election
as a “sham” and a “massive fraud,” tying the murder of a senior election
official a week before elections to a hack of IEBC servers, and a falsifying
of results. It provided no evidence to support its claims.

The IEBC robustly defended itself against the opposition’s allegations, and
described claims by the opposition that the IEBC had an alternative tally on
its servers as “grossly inaccurate and premature.”

Despite subsequent dismissal of Mr Odinga’s claims, there are concerns about
the tallying process. Critical to the transparency of these elections was
the scanning of signed forms showing the results at the same time as the
tallies were submitted by polling stations to their constituencies by text
message. But roughly 11,000 forms were not uploaded, and the IEBC has given
no explanation for the apparent break-down in this process, which must be
followed by law.

“It creates an impression that some mischief is going on,” said Patrick
Gathara, a Nairobi-based political analyst. “That was the whole point of the
electronic system. The main problem [in previous elections] was [that] en
route from the polling station to the tallying centre, things got changed.”

The international community, which includes an observer mission led by John
Kerry, former US Secretary of State, has strongly urged Nasa to take the
matter of irregularities down the constitutional route. After a challenge
has been filed at the Supreme Court, it has 14 days to rule.

“Violence must never be an option,” US Ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec said.
“No Kenyan should die because of an election. Kenya's future is more
important than any election. Leaders above all need to make that clear.”




On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in
                    Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
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katika machafuko" 


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