9 Aug 2017

Kenya police fire live rounds at protesters

Police in one location of the western Kenyan city of Kisumu fired live rounds on Wednesday to disperse stone-throwing supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claims this week’s elections were rigged, a Reuters witness said.
Separately, a supporter of Odinga protesting in the Nairobi slum of Mathare was shot dead by police, witnesses told a Reuters reporter who viewed the body.

NAN reports that earlier, police fired tear gas at a group of 100 chanting supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, shortly after their political leader claimed “massive” fraud in this week’s elections.

Witnesses said after the police fired the tear gas, the protesters, who had been chanting “No Raila, no peace,” scattered.

Earlier, Odinga said hackers broke into Kenya’s election commission computer systems and database overnight, leading to “massive and extensive” vote fraud that nullified the published victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained his strong lead in the presidential election count with 85 per cent of polling stations reporting.

Its website showed Kenyatta with 54.8 per cent of the vote against 44.3 per cent for opposition leader Raila Odinga, a margin of nearly 1.4 million votes.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Human Rights Commission said that it had discovered some discrepancies in an initial comparison between provisional results announced by the election commission and paper forms signed at polling stations by party agents.

It cited five examples, including a polling station in western Nandi county where the electoral board’s website

recorded 439 rejected votes but the paper form only had four.

The commission is a well-known non-governmental organisation.

NAN reports that in 2007, tallying was stopped and the incumbent president declared the winner, triggering an outcry from Odinga’s camp. The ethnic and political violence that followed killed 1,200 people and displaced 600,000.

International Criminal Court cases against Kenyatta and his now-deputy, William Ruto, for helping direct that

violence, collapsed as witnesses died or disappeared.

In 2013, Odinga took his concerns to court.

This time, he invoked the unsolved torture and murder of a top election official days before the vote to justify his fears of rigging.

“We fear this was exactly the reason Chris Msando was assassinated, so this could happen,” he said.

Kenya’s shilling firmed and bond prices rose on early results, but analysts said gains could be fragile.

“Kenyatta’s provisional win will soothe those investors who feared a leftist shift in economic policy,” said

Hasnain Malik, global head of equities research at Exotix Capital.

“The most important issues are ahead of us: Does Odinga concede peacefully? His initial rhetoric suggests there is a risk he does not.”

- Reuters/NAN

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