Af­ter pres­i­dent’s re­elec­tion, at least 24 re­port­edly killed in Kenya vi­o­lence

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD - BY RAEL OMBUOR AND KEVIN SIEFF kevin.sieff@wash­post.com

nairobi — One day af­ter Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was re­elected in a fiercely con­tested and di­vi­sive vote, vi­o­lence erupted across parts of Kenya in clashes be­tween pro­test­ers and se­cu­rity forces.

At least 24 peo­ple, in­clud­ing a 6-year-old child, have been killed since the elec­tion re­sults were an­nounced Fri­day night, ac­cord­ing to the Kenyan Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights.

“Deaths can be di­rectly linked to the elec­tions and post-elec­tion en­vi­ron­ment,” said Kag­wiria Mbo­gori, chair­man of the com­mis­sion. “Fam­ily and com­mu­nity mem­bers have in­di­cated they were killed dur­ing the protests, which broke out in some parts of the coun­try af­ter the polls.”

Mbo­gori said that loss of life is at­trib­uted to po­lice us­ing live am­mu­ni­tion and that 17 deaths were con­firmed in Nairobi, the cap­i­tal, alone.

In Kib­era, Nairobi’s largest slum, res­i­dents said that at least six peo­ple were killed late Fri­day and early Sat­ur­day in clashes with po­lice. Young men in the slum had promised for days to hold demon­stra­tions if Keny­atta de­feated their can­di­date, Raila Odinga, who has not yet ac­cepted the re­sults or con­ceded, rais­ing con­cerns of fur­ther vi­o­lence.

Kenya’s act­ing se­cu­rity min­is­ter, Fred Ma­tiangi, has dis­puted ac­cu­sa­tions that po­lice had shot pro­test­ers, telling re­porters Sat­ur­day that of­fi­cers “did not use live bul­lets” and adding that “the coun­try was safe and se­cure.”

But Mbo­gori said the com­mis­sion “can con­firm that there has been ex­ces­sive use of force and mis­use of firearms by se­cu­rity per­son­nel deal­ing with mem­bers of the pub­lic who are ex­er­cis­ing their right to peace­ful as­sem­bly in ac­cor­dance with our con­sti­tu­tion.”

Al­though Kenya is con­sid­ered a pil­lar of sta­bil­ity in East Africa, it is riven by tribal ten­sions that rise to the sur­face dur­ing na­tional elec­tions. In 2007, more than 1,000 peo­ple were killed in eth­nic vi­o­lence in the wake of that year’s elec­tion.

This year, the re­sponse to Keny­atta’s vic­tory ap­pears more tem­pered, with se­cu­rity forces more pre­pared than they were a decade ago. But res­i­dents in Nairobi and parts of western Kenya raised al­le­ga­tions of po­lice shoot­ing wildly at pro­test­ers.

In Mathare, an­other Nairobi slum, a 6-year-old girl was killed by a stray bul­let while on the bal­cony of her house, ac­cord­ing to res­i­dents.

“The po­lice were shoot­ing in the air to dis­perse the crowds,” said Boni­face Okoth, a res­i­dent of Mathare. “The child came to the bal­cony to check what was go­ing on. She was shot and died on the spot.”

Sep­a­rately, Reuters re­ported that nine men in Mathare were killed overnight. A se­cu­rity of­fi­cial told Reuters that they were killed in an anti-loot­ing op­er­a­tion. There were also protests in the western city of Kisumu, where po­lice used tear gas to dis­perse the crowds. Reuters re­ported that one man was killed there.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial re­sults, Keny­atta re­ceived 54.2 per­cent of the vote to Odinga’s 44.7 per­cent. Odinga has al­leged that those re­sults were ma­nip­u­lated, claim­ing the coun­try’s elec­toral com­mis­sion was part of the coverup. But in­ter­na­tional elec­tion ob­servers said they con­sid­ered the vote to be cred­i­ble.

In Kib­era, Ce­line Ad­hi­ambo said po­lice were march­ing “deep in­side the slum” on Fri­day night and Sat­ur­day morn­ing.

“We do not know where they took the bod­ies,” she said. “We are in great dan­ger.”

There were also protests in western Nyanza prov­ince. The re­gional co­or­di­na­tor there said that young men at­tempted to at­tack po­lice with rocks but that “po­lice dealt with the sit­u­a­tion and cleared the roads.”

Keny­atta has pledged to ad­dress the coun­try’s di­vide in his sec­ond term, say­ing in his ac­cep­tance speech Fri­day: “We are not en­e­mies. We are all cit­i­zens of one repub­lic.”

KHALIL SENOSI/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sup­port­ers of op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga block a road on Sat­ur­day in Nairobi’s Kib­era slum.

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