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Violent protests erupt in Kenya after deputy president Ruto wins election

06:25 16 August 2022 Author :  

Violent protests have erupted in Raila Odinga's stronghold of Kisumu and parts of Nairobi after he lost his fifth bid for Kenya's presidency to Deputy President William Ruto.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said on Monday that Ruto won almost 7.18 million votes (50.49 percent) in the August 9 vote, against Odinga's 6.94 million (48.85 percent).

As news of the results filtered through to Kisumu, large numbers of protesters congregated on a roundabout in the lakeside city, throwing stones and setting tyres on fire as they blocked roads with broken rocks.

AFP correspondents reported that police fired live rounds as protests erupted in the Nairobi slum of Mathare where Odinga is popular.

And across town in Kibera, one of Nairobi's largest slums, young supporters, who refer to Odinga as "Baba" or "father" in Swahili, demanded a re-run as they hurled stones.

The chaos emerged just before the declaration when the electoral commission’s vice chair and three other commissioners told journalists they could not support the “opaque nature” of the final phase.

The sudden split in the commission came minutes after Odinga’s chief agent said they could not verify the results and made allegations of “electoral offences” without giving details or evidence.

Pressure to deliver a clean poll

Odinga, 77, a veteran opposition politician now backed by the ruling party, has not spoken in public since the results were announced, but has accused his opponents of cheating him out of victory in the 2007, 2013 and 2017 presidential elections.

The 2007 polls in particular, which many independent observers also considered deeply flawed, cast a long shadow over Kenyan politics, unleashing a wave of ethnic violence that pitted tribal groups against each other and cost more than 1,100 lives.

Declared winner Ruto vowed to work with "all leaders", attempting to ease tensions.

"There is no room for vengeance," Ruto said, adding, "I am acutely aware that our country is at a stage where we need all hands on deck."

The IEBC had earlier said it would be issuing the results of the closely fought August 9 race at 1200 GMT but by almost 1500 GMT there was still no announcement.

Latest official results published by Kenyan media early Monday had given Deputy President William Ruto a slight edge over Raila Odinga.

As confusion reigned, scuffles broke out at the IEBC's heavily guarded national tallying centre in Nairobi, where some people were seen throwing chairs.

The IEBC has been under pressure to deliver a clean poll after claims of rigging and mismanagement led to the annulment of the 2017 election race.

 

Source: agencies

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