After election, Kenyan opposition leader plans more protests - InfoNews

Current Conditions


After election, Kenyan opposition leader plans more protests

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, front-right, accompanied by coalition Principal Musalia Mudavadi, center, arrives to make a statement to the media in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. In his first public statement since President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the Oct. 26 election, Odinga called the election a "sham" and said he wants a new vote to be held. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
October 31, 2017 - 10:23 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday harshly criticized an election rerun in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner, saying it should be scrapped in favour of yet another vote and that the opposition would continue to protest in the streets.

Odinga's first public comments since election results were announced Monday suggested that Kenya's political and ethnic tensions are likely to fester. The opposition leader, who boycotted the Oct. 26 vote, hinted that his supporters could appeal to the nation's highest court to nullify a presidential election for the second time since August.

"We shall see to it that we conduct a free, fair and credible presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court," Odinga said. "It's in our best interests that we do so sooner rather than later."

The court invalidated the Aug. 8 election in which Kenyatta was declared the winner after finding what it called "irregularities and illegalities." Odinga, whose petition alleging vote-rigging led to the court's ruling, boycotted Thursday's vote because he said electoral reforms had not been made.

Kenyatta has said he expects legal challenges to the latest election, which he won with an overwhelming 98 per cent of the vote because he faced no significant challenge.

The opposition also plans "economic boycotts, peaceful procession, picketing and other legitimate forms of protest," said Odinga, emphasizing that demonstrations would be peaceful.

However, his supporters have often clashed with police in Nairobi slums and opposition areas in western Kenya since the latest election. At least nine people have been killed. The opposition accuses security forces of using excessive force, while the government says Odinga's camp has incited violence.

"If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government," Odinga said Tuesday.

Although opposition areas were generally quiet after Odinga's announcement, the unrest since the election has highlighted divisions that continue to roil East Africa's economic hub.

European Union election observers said actions by Kenya's rival political camps have damaged the electoral process and put Kenyans and their institutions in "an extremely difficult position."

The EU, whose observer mission was smaller than in the August election, said there has been intimidation of the judiciary, attacks on the election commission, efforts to disrupt the electoral process and some cases of excessive use of force by police. However, it said polling and counting was "generally well administered" and that there were some technical improvements.

Kenyan business and religious leaders pleaded for calm in a country weary of tension. The head of a business association, Nderitu Mwangi of the Hood Group, said companies have suffered big losses because of the turmoil.

The vote has left the country "grossly divided along ethnic and political lines," The National Council of Churches of Kenya said.

Kenya's election commission has said the turnout of registered voters in the Oct. 26 election was about 40 per cent, compared with roughly twice that in the August balloting. Odinga remained on the ballot and still got 73,000 votes, or just under 1 per cent. In August, he received 45 per cent to Kenyatta's 54 per cent.

Voting did not take place in two dozen of Kenya's 290 constituencies due to opposition protests, although the election commission cited an election law that says final results can be announced if the outcome is not affected by the tally in areas that didn't vote.

Odinga, who is from the Luo ethnic group, and Kenyatta, who is a Kikuyu, also faced off in a 2013 election similarly marred by allegations of vote-rigging. The opposition leader also ran unsuccessfully in 2007, and ethnic-fueled animosity after that vote killed more than 1,000 people and forced 600,000 from their homes.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
  • North Okanagan homeowner shot in rural break and enter
    FALKLAND - A man was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg after a break and enter at his rural property turned violent, police say. The man returned to his rural Falkland proper
  • Three accused in Hope murder appear in Kelowna court
    KELOWNA – Three men are due in Kelowna court charged in a murder that happened in Hope last April. Ryan James Watt, 26, Joshua Albert Fleurant, 20, and Jared Paul Jorgenson, 27, have b
  • Parents arrested after 13 children found chained in house
    PERRIS, Calif. - A 17-year-old girl called police after escaping from her family's home where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, some so malnourished offi
  • UPDATE: One dead in Highway 97A collision near Armstrong
    VERNON - A crash between a semi truck and a car claimed a life this morning on Highway 97A, near Armstrong.  Police say the crash, which happened Tuesday morning at roughly 11 a.m. just
  • Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan dead at 46
    LONDON - Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries, died suddenly on Monday. She was 46. O'Riordan died in London, where she was recording, publicist Lindsey Holme
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile