Odinga ar­gues he won elec­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA

NAIROBI, KENYA | A dis­pute over Kenya’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in­ten­si­fied Thurs­day when sup­port­ers of op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga said an un­of­fi­cial tally showed that he won — a claim that con­flicted with a provisional of­fi­cial re­sult that put in­cum­bent Uhuru Keny­atta in the lead.

Although most of the East African na­tion was calm af­ter Tues­day’s vote, scat­tered clashes broke out be­tween po­lice and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers.

The un­cer­tainty has left Kenya in po­lit­i­cal limbo, as its peo­ple await fi­nal re­sults that they hope will dis­si­pate ten­sions over vote-rig­ging al­le­ga­tions and pre­serve the long-term sta­bil­ity that has made the coun­try a com­mer­cial hub.

Op­po­si­tion of­fi­cial Musalia Mu­davadi claimed to have “com­plete data” from elec­tion com­mis­sion servers show­ing Mr. Odinga with a lead of sev­eral hundred thou­sand votes over Mr. Keny­atta, con­trary to re­sults on the com­mis­sion’s web­site that put the pres­i­dent over 1 mil­lion votes — more than 10 per­cent­age points — ahead.

The op­po­si­tion has re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from “con­fi­den­tial” sources in the elec­tion com­mis­sion that in­di­cates “the ac­tual pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults con­tained in their data­base,” Mr. Mu­davadi said. He said there was a “se­ri­ous at­tempt to try to ei­ther doc­tor or al­ter the fi­nal re­sults.”

Mr. Odinga, a for­mer prime min­is­ter who has run un­suc­cess­fully for pres­i­dent twice be­fore, said hack­ers in­fil­trated the com­mis­sion’s com­puter sys­tem and ma­nip­u­lated re­sults against him.

Com­mis­sion chair­man Wa­fula Che­bukati said a hack­ing at­tempt was made but it failed. Elec­tion of­fi­cials are painstak­ingly try­ing to con­firm their provisional re­sults show­ing Mr. Keny­atta in the lead with checks of doc­u­ments from polling sta­tions na­tion­wide. The elec­tion com­mis­sion has un­til Aug. 15 to re­lease the fi­nal tally.

“The long wait is lead­ing to ten­sion,” said po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Hezron Mogambi. “We are sup­posed by now to have had re­sults, but the de­lay has been caused by the fact that the op­po­si­tion had com­plaints about the sys­tem of trans­mit­ting re­sults.”

Clashes be­tween po­lice and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers erupted in a Nairobi slum. Po­lice fired on ri­ot­ers in Kawang­ware, a poor area of the cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tog­ra­pher. One wounded man was car­ried away by pro­test­ers who said po­lice shot him. Demon­stra­tors also burned tires in Kib­era, an­other Nairobi slum.

Vi­o­lence also broke out in Garissa county, where op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers demon­strated against the an­nounce­ment of a rul­ing party can­di­date as the win­ner of a gu­ber­na­to­rial race. Po­lice tried to re­store calm af­ter part of the town’s mar­ket was burned by ar­son­ists, said a re­gional of­fi­cial, Mo­hamud Saleh.

On Wed­nes­day, at least three peo­ple were shot and killed in con­fronta­tions be­tween se­cu­rity forces and op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers in sev­eral ar­eas of Kenya.

The U.S. State De­part­ment urged Kenyans to re­frain from vi­o­lence while await­ing the elec­tion com­mis­sion’s fi­nal re­sults.

In­ter­na­tional ob­servers said they have not noted any signs of in­ter­fer­ence with the vote and also urged calm.

Ma­ri­etje Schaake, the Dutch head of the Euro­pean Union mis­sion ob­serv­ing the vote, said, “Elec­tions should never be an is­sue of life or death.”

She said Mr. Odinga’s hack­ing al­le­ga­tions “should be se­ri­ously looked at” as part of the process of ver­i­fy­ing the fi­nal tal­lies.

John Ma­hama, chief elec­tion ob­server for the Com­mon­wealth and for­mer pres­i­dent of Ghana, said the vot­ing and count­ing sys­tem ap­peared “cred­i­ble, trans­par­ent and in­clu­sive.”

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the lat­est de­vel­op­ments from Mr. Keny­atta, 55, whose fa­ther was Kenya’s first pres­i­dent af­ter in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule.

An­gry crowds jeered po­lice pa­trolling in Kawang­ware, an op­po­si­tion strong­hold.

“Peo­ple are demon­strat­ing be­cause of their rights,” said Ed­win Onyango, a sup­porter of the 72-year-old Mr. Odinga.

Mr. Odinga lost in a 2007 elec­tion that was fol­lowed by vi­o­lence fu­eled by eth­nic ten­sions that killed more than 1,000 peo­ple. He also lost the 2013 vote to Mr. Keny­atta and took al­le­ga­tions of vote-tam­per­ing to the Supreme Court, which re­jected his case.

Some Nairobi res­i­dents said he should ac­knowl­edge an­other lost cam­paign.

“He has done a lot for this coun­try,” said James Maina Ba­ji­rane. “And at this par­tic­u­lar time, at his age, he should con­cede de­feat and the coun­try goes on.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A man seek­ing safety walks through a thick cloud of tear gas to­ward riot po­lice, as they clash with pro­test­ers in the Kawang­ware slum of Nairobi, Kenya, on Thurs­day. In­ter­na­tional ob­servers urged Kenyans to be pa­tient as they awaited fi­nal elec­tion re­sults.

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