Keny­atta wins in of­fi­cial re­sults

Back­ers cel­e­brate; in Kenya ar­eas fa­vor­ing ri­val, shots ring out

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Christo­pher Torchia and Tom Odula of The As­so­ci­ated Press and by Kevin Si­eff of

NAIROBI, Kenya — Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was de­clared the win­ner Fri­day of Kenya’s 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 per­cent in bal­lot­ing it called “cred­i­ble, fair and peace­ful.”

Hun­dreds of riot po­lice were in the streets of the cap­i­tal, Nairobi, over 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 and unity. “Let us shun vi­o­lence and let us refuse to be used for short-term po­lit­i­cal gain,” he said.

He said he was ex­tend­ing a “hand of friend­ship” to “our older brother,” Odinga, 72.

“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.”

Since the elec­tion ear­lier this week, the cap­i­tal of Nairobi was trans­formed into a rel­a­tive ghost town, with many fam­i­lies leav­ing out of fear of vi­o­lent protests. On Fri­day morn­ing, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the of­fi­cial re­sults be­ing an­nounced, Odinga’s sup­port­ers staged small demon­stra­tions in some ar­eas, taunt­ing the po­lice and chant­ing “No Raila, no peace.”

The cap­i­tal also braced for vi­o­lence Fri­day night by de­ploy­ing po­lice in the cen­tral busi­ness district.

Though Kenya has been con­sid­ered a model of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity in East Africa in re­cent years, it is riven by tribal loy­al­ties. In 2007, more than 1,000 peo­ple were killed in eth­nic vi­o­lence af­ter Odinga lost that year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion amid al­leged vote-rig­ging.

“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.

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.”

The elec­tion com­mis­sion re­jected claims by Odinga, a for­mer prime min­is­ter, that its data­base was hacked and re­sults were ma­nip­u­lated against him. Elec­tion mon­i­tors, in­clud­ing for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, also said they saw no signs of a rigged vote and that there is enough doc­u­men­ta­tion to set­tle any dis­putes over the re­sults.

But Odinga sup­port­ers, many of them mem­bers of his Luo tribe or its al­lies, said they were be­ing robbed of yet an­other elec­tion. The Luo are one of the ma­jor eth­nic groups in Kenya, but a Luo has never been pres­i­dent of Kenya, and many mem­bers of the tribe at­tribute their so­cioe­co­nomic trou­bles to their group’s po­lit­i­cal ex­clu­sion.

“We are tired of be­ing ruled by Kikuyus,” said Wy­cliffe Onyalo, 25, who was demon­strat­ing in fa­vor of Odinga on Fri­day morn­ing on the main street of Kib­era, be­fore the re­sults were an­nounced.

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

U.S. Am­bas­sador Robert Godec said any dis­putes should be dealt with through le­gal chan­nels. “No Kenyan should die be­cause of an elec­tion,” he said.

The days­long wait for the elec­tion re­sults in­creased ten­sions in the na­tion of 45 mil­lion peo­ple, though the com­mis­sion by law had un­til Tues­day to an­nounce them. At least three peo­ple were killed in clashes be­tween po­lice and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers dur­ing that time.

AP/SAYYID AB­DUL AZIM

Bal­lots were be­ing counted Fri­day in Nairobi, Kenya, be­fore the re­sults of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion were an­nounced.

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