• Today
    December 16

  • 11:11 AM

At least eleven dead as post-election unrest erupts in Kenya

REUTERS,

Added 12 August 2017

kenya-riots-081217

Anti riot policemen clash with protesters supporting opposition leader Raila Odinga in Mathare, in Nairobi, Kenya August 12, 2017. (Reuters)

NAIROBI/KISUMU, Kenya – Kenyan police have killed at least 11 people in a crackdown on protests as anger at the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta erupted in the western city of Kisumu and slums surrounding the capital, officials and witnesses said on Saturday.

However, the NASA opposition coalition, led by four-time presidential hopeful Raila Odinga, put the death toll at more than 100, including ten children, but did not provide evidence. Odinga has rejected the poll and its result as “massive” fraud.

The eruption of violence has revived memories of a decade ago, when Odinga, now 72, lost an election in controversial circumstances that sparked a wave of political and ethnic unrest in which 1 200 people were killed and 600 000 displaced. 

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations head who mediated during that crisis, on Saturday issued a statement warning Kenya’s leaders to “be careful with their rhetoric and actions in this tense atmosphere”. 

Reuters was able to confirm 11 deaths, including one girl, in the space of 24 hours. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people had been shot dead by police since Tuesday, election day.

Top Odinga lieutenant Johnson Muthama said police had been packing corpses into body bags and dumping them, remarks likely to exacerbate the tensions that followed Friday night’s official announcement that Kenyatta had won, with 54.3 per cent of votes.

Mwenda Njeka, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the opposition claims were “hogwash”.

Acting Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i had earlier said trouble was localised and blamed it on “criminal elements” rather than legitimate political protest. He also denied accusations of police brutality. 

“Let us be honest – there are no demonstrations happening,” he told reporters.

“Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, that are breaking into people’s businesses – those are not demonstrators. They are criminals and we expect police to deal with criminals how criminals should be dealt with.”

However, James Orengo, another top NASA official, said the killings were part of a carefully laid plan by 55-year-old Kenyatta’s Jubilee party and the security forces to rig the poll, crush dissent and then hide the evidence.

“This violence, this state terror is being executed following very meticulous preparation,” he said.

He and Muthama urged Odinga supporters to stay calm and out of harm’s way but, ominously, said there would be no backing down. “We will not be cowed. We will not relent,” Muthama said.

As with previous votes in 2007 and 2013, this year’s elections have exposed the underlying ethnic tensions in the nation of 45 million people, the economic engine of East Africa and the region’s main trading hub.

In particular, Odinga’s Luo tribe, who hail from the west, hoped an Odinga presidency would break the Kikuyu and Kalenjin dominance of central government since independence in 1963. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, is a Kikuyu.

Most of the trouble has been in the western city of Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold, and the large, ethnically mixed slums on the outskirts of Nairobi.

In addition to the deaths, officials at Kisumu’s main hospital said they had treated 26 people since Friday night, including four with gunshot wounds and others who had been beaten by police. 

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had treated 54 patients, including seven for gunshot wounds. (Reuters)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

VIDEO

BLOGS

KRYSTLE CLEAR img
THE LONG VIEW img
INSIDE EDITORIAL img
What's Trending img
MONEY MATTERS img
Toni-Ann Johnson img

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

POLL

Are you cutting back on how much you spend this Christmas?

Yes
No
Not sure yet

INSTAGRAM