Three killed in pres­i­den­tial elec­tion riot

Odinga says hack­ers tam­pered with vote re­sults

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY TOM ODULA AND CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA

NAIROBI, KENYA | Kenyan po­lice opened fire Wed­nes­day to dis­perse ri­ot­ers in sev­eral ar­eas af­ter pres­i­den­tial chal­lenger Raila Odinga al­leged elec­tion fraud, say­ing hack­ers used the iden­tity of a mur­dered of­fi­cial to in­fil­trate the data­base of the elec­tion com­mis­sion and ma­nip­u­late re­sults in fa­vor of Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta. At least three peo­ple were killed.

As Mr. Keny­atta held a strong lead in pro­vi­sional re­sults with 96 per­cent of all polling sta­tions counted, the elec­tion com­mis­sion de­fended the vot­ing sys­tem as se­cure, say­ing there were “no in­ter­fer­ences be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter” Tues­day’s elec­tion.

Elec­tion of­fi­cials were ver­i­fy­ing the fi­nal tal­lies Wed­nes­day night. It was un­clear how long it would take, though by law elec­tion of­fi­cials have up to a week from the elec­tion to an­nounce the re­sults.

Mr. Odinga, a for­mer prime min­is­ter, blamed Mr. Keny­atta’s Ju­bilee Party for the al­leged hack­ing. “The fraud Ju­bilee has per­pet­u­ated on Kenyans sur­passes any level of voter theft in our coun­try’s his­tory. This time we caught them,” he tweeted.

Soon af­ter Mr. Odinga claimed on tele­vi­sion that the elec­tion had been rigged, an­gry protesters in the Nairobi slum of Mathare and poor ar­eas in the op­po­si­tion strong­hold of Kisumu in the south­west burned tires, set up road­blocks and clashed with po­lice.

Two peo­ple were shot dead in Nairobi as they took ad­van­tage of the protests to loot, Nairobi Po­lice Chief Japheth Koome said. An As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tog­ra­pher said one was shot in the head. Po­lice killed one per­son when they opened fire on protesters in an­other op­po­si­tion strong­hold in Kisii County, said Leonard Katana, a re­gional po­lice com­man­der.

Many parts of Kenya, East Africa’s com­mer­cial hub, re­mained calm, but the vi­o­lence stirred mem­o­ries of the un­rest that fol­lowed the 2007 vote in which more than 1,000 peo­ple were killed. Mr. Odinga lost that elec­tion; he also lost the 2013 vote to Mr. Keny­atta and took al­le­ga­tions of vote-tam­per­ing to the Supreme Court, which re­jected his case.

Mr. Odinga on Wed­nes­day claimed that hack­ers used the iden­tity of Christo­pher Msando, an elec­tion of­fi­cial in charge of man­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy sys­tems. On July 31, of­fi­cials an­nounced that Mr. Msando had been tor­tured and killed, alarm­ing Kenyans who feared a re­cur­rence of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence fu­eled by eth­nic di­vi­sions.

Mr. Odinga posted on­line what he said were com­puter logs prov­ing his al­le­ga­tion. A Tues­day morn­ing en­try in the pur­ported com­puter logs that Mr. Odinga posted on Face­book reads: “Lo­gin failed for user ‘msando’. Rea­son: The pass­word of the ac­count must be changed.”

Rafael Tuju, a top of­fi­cial in Mr. Keny­atta’s party, said the op­po­si­tion’s claims were un­founded, and Kenya’s elec­tion com­mis­sion said it would in­ves­ti­gate.

For­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry told re­porters Wed­nes­day that Kenya’s abil­ity to se­cure its vot­ing sys­tem “ap­pears to be very, very strong.”

Mr. Kerry is lead­ing a mis­sion of elec­tion ob­servers who have mon­i­tored Tues­day’s vote and its af­ter­math.

Mr. Kerry said Kenya’s lead­ers need to step up in the com­ing days and give peo­ple con­fi­dence amid fears of post­elec­tion vi­o­lence.

Amid the un­cer­tainty, some Odinga sup­port­ers erupted.

“He is not ac­cept­ing the re­sults and that is why we are on the streets, but po­lice have started shoot­ing,” said demon­stra­tor Se­bas­tian Omolo in Kisumu, one of Kenya’s largest cities. The west­ern port city on Lake Victoria has been a flash point in past elec­tions.

Human rights group Amnesty In­ter­na­tional urged Kenyan po­lice not to use force un­nec­es­sar­ily in their re­sponse to protests. Lynne Muthoni Wanyeki, a re­gional di­rec­tor for Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, said po­lice should not dis­rupt peace­ful protests and that force should only be used as a “last re­sort” that seeks to avoid loss of life.

Kisumu shop­keeper Fes­tus Od­hi­ambo said he was pray­ing for peace even as protesters blocked roads into city slums with bon­fires and boul­ders.

Kenya’s in­te­rior min­is­ter, Fred Ma­tiangi, warned against the use of so­cial me­dia to stoke ten­sions. Of­fi­cials have said it was un­likely they would shut down the in­ter­net but said they might shut down some so­cial me­dia if nec­es­sary.

“We as­sure Kenyans and all res­i­dents, the coun­try is safe,” said Mr. Ma­tiangi. “I urge ev­ery­one to go on freely with their daily chores.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A man throws a stone to­ward po­lice in Nairobi, Kenya, as peo­ple block roads to protest in sup­port of op­po­si­tion leader and can­di­date Raila Odinga on Wed­nes­day. Po­lice opened fire to dis­perse ri­ot­ers af­ter Mr. Odinga al­leged elec­tion fraud.

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