Keny­atta wins Kenyan elec­tion

In­ter­na­tional ob­servers have said they saw no signs of in­ter­fer­ence with pres­i­den­tial vote

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA AND TOM ODULA

NAIROBI, KENYA — Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was de­clared the win­ner Fri­day of Kenya’s hard-fought pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, but op­po­si­tion can­di­date Raila Odinga al­leged the vot­ing was rigged.

In an­nounc­ing the re­sults of Tues­day’s con­test, the elec­tion com­mis­sion said Keny­atta won a sec­ond term with 54 per cent in bal­lot­ing it called “cred­i­ble, fair and peace­ful.”

Hun­dreds of riot po­lice were in the streets of the cap­i­tal, Nairobi, amid fears of fur­ther protests by op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers, who called the vote a “cha­rade” and said chal­leng­ing the out­come in court wasn’t an op­tion.

Keny­atta, the 55-year-old son of Kenya’s first pres­i­dent af­ter in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain, ap­pealed for calm af­ter the bit­ter cam­paign.

“Kenya be­longs to all of us,” he said. “Let us shun vi­o­lence and let us refuse to be used for short-term po­lit­i­cal gain.”

He said he was ex­tend­ing a “hand of friend­ship” to “our older brother,” Odinga.

“We need and must con­tinue to work to­gether for the wel­fare of our peo­ple and in or­der to keep this coun­try united,” said Keny­atta, who also de­feated Odinga in 2013. “We reach out to you. We reach out to your sup­port­ers.”

The elec­tion was a test of the sta­bil­ity of the East African eco­nomic power as many re­called the post­elec­tion blood­shed a decade ago that left more than 1,000 dead.

“We have seen the re­sults of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and I am cer­tain there is no sin­gle Kenyan who would wish to go back to those days,” Keny­atta said.

Kenya had been rel­a­tively calm since the elec­tion, but had braced for pos­si­ble vi­o­lence Fri­day night with po­lice in the cen­tral busi­ness district.

Although cel­e­bra­tions by back­ers of Keny­atta were re­ported in sev­eral cities across Kenya, gun­shots and screams were heard in at least two ar­eas pop­u­lated by Odinga sup­port­ers, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and a wit­ness.

The gun­fire rang out in the Nairobi slum of Kib­era and in the south­west­ern city of Kisumu, the wit­nesses said. Youths also were re­ported to be throw­ing stones at cars in Kib­era.

“There are gun­shots all over; we don’t know how it will end, but we are pray­ing for peace,” said Kisumu res­i­dent Lu­cas Od­hi­ambo, adding that peo­ple were bel­low­ing through “vu­vuzela” noise­mak­ers when the re­sults were an­nounced “and po­lice moved in.”

Ear­lier in the day, op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers burned tires and blocked roads in sev­eral ar­eas.

The elec­tion com­mis­sion re­jected claims by Odinga, a for­mer prime min­is­ter, that its data­base was hacked and re­sults ma­nip­u­lated against him.

The long wait for elec­tion re­sults in­creased ten­sions in the na­tion of 45 mil­lion peo­ple, though the com­mis­sion by law had un­til Aug. 15 to an­nounce them. At least three peo­ple were killed in clashes be­tween po­lice and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers this week.

Odinga al­leged that hack­ers in­fil­trated the elec­tion com­mis­sion’s com­puter sys­tem in favour of his op­po­nent. He claimed the hack­ers used the iden­tity of Christo­pher Msando, an elec­tion of­fi­cial in charge of man­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy sys­tems. Of­fi­cials had an­nounced on July 31 that Msando had been tor­tured and killed.

In ad­di­tion, the CEO of a U.S. elec­tion data com­pany work­ing for Odinga was de­ported last week­end.

The elec­tion com­mis­sion said there was a hack­ing at­tempt but it failed, and that Odinga’s camp had no right to de­clare him as the win­ner.

Ear­lier Fri­day, the op­po­si­tion said it had asked for ac­cess to the com­mis­sion’s servers to con­firm whether the al­leged hack­ing took place. If granted, it said it would ac­cept the re­sults, even if they showed that Keny­atta won.

Keny­atta has not com­mented on Odinga’s al­le­ga­tions.

In­ter­na­tional elec­tion ob­servers have said they saw no signs of vote in­ter­fer­ence. Elec­tion of­fi­cials spent days con­firm­ing pro­vi­sional re­sults with checks of doc­u­ments from polling sta­tions na­tion­wide.

JEROME DE­LAY, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s sup­port­ers cel­e­brate in Kikuyu Town, Kenya, af­ter he won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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