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Kenya Elections Marred by Clashes, Tear Gas and a Boycott

October 26,2017 20:17

Kenyans cast ballots on Thursday in the second presidential election in nearly three months amid a boycott by the main opposition leader and clashes in some areas that turned deadly. Though the majority of the voting occurred peacefully, at least three ...and more »



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Supporters of the Kenyan opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance, clashed with the police on Thursday in Kibera, a slum area of Nairobi. Credit Dai Kurokawa/European Pressphoto Agency

Kenyans cast ballots on Thursday in the second presidential election in nearly three months amid a boycott by the main opposition leader and clashes in some areas that turned deadly.
Though the majority of the voting occurred peacefully, at least four people were killed, The Associated Press said. The dead included a 17-year-old who died of gunshot wounds, Henry Omosa, the head nurse at a government hospital in the western city of Kisumu, told the news media. The police also fired tear gas at rock-throwing protesters in the Nairobi neighborhood of Kibera.
Amid confrontations between the police and rock-throwing protesters who wanted to stop the vote, the authorities postponed balloting until Saturday in four districts.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to win the election, since his main challenger dropped out.

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Police officers chased opposition protesters in an attempt to clear the streets of Kibera. Credit Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

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Opposition supporters helped a man who was injured during clashes with the police in Kibera. Credit Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

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President Uhuru Kenyatta cast his ballot at the Mutomo primary school in Kiambu. Credit Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Kenyatta’s main challenger, Raila Odinga, had accused the president of fraud and dropped out of the race, saying that he believed the second election would be “worse than the previous one” because the electoral commission had not made changes to its operation or its staffing.
But Mr. Odinga did not file the paperwork that would have formally removed him from the race, so his name appears on the ballot, election commissioners said.

The Supreme Court, citing irregularities, had nullified the first election, which took place on Aug. 8. The political crisis deepened on Wednesday, when the court was unable to hear a case that could have delayed the election after only two of the seven judges showed up. Five are needed for a quorum, Chief Justice David Maraga said.

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Members of the Masai and Kikuyu tribes waited to vote at a school in Masailand. Credit Georgina Goodwin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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A police officer chased a man out of a storefront while attempting to clear the Kibera slum. Credit Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

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Protesters in Kibera boycotted the vote and tried to disrupt Kenya’s rerun election. Credit Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

The mood was tense in some parts of the country on Thursday. Mr. Odinga had urged his supporters to boycott the vote.
Protesters began gathering in Kisumu and Nairobi’s Uhuru Park since Wednesday to demonstrate against the ballot. On Twitter, the main opposition group, the National Super Alliance, warned, “The primary responsibility, if the worst occurs, lies squarely with Kenyatta.”
In anticipation of demonstrations, the police said they would not allow the National Super Alliance to hold a rally at the capital’s Freedom Park ahead of its boycott.
Turnout was drastically lower than during the previous election, raising questions about whether the winner will be accepted as legitimate.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the electoral commission, said on Thursday night that the estimated turnout was 48 percent. About 6.5 million Kenyans — less than half of the electorate — voted, he said on Twitter.

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Supporters of Raila Odinga observing police officers from a hilltop in Kibera. Credit Dai Kurokawa/European Pressphoto Agency

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