Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta urges calm as opposition slams 'charade' election result

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Kenya‘s President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on the country to “shun violence” as opposition supporters erupted in fury as he was declared to have won a second term.

Amid allegations of a “charade” election married by fraud, Mr Kenyatta urged citizens to avoid the kind of violence that followed the 2007 election, when more than 1,000 people were killed. 

“We have seen the results of political violence, and I am certain there is no single Kenyan who would wish to go back to those days,” said Mr Kenyatta. 

Supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga said they rejected the result declared by the country’s electoral commission, but added that going to court to challenge it was not an option.

Mr Kenyatta was said by the commission to have won 54.3 per cent of Tuesday’s vote, ahead of rival Raila Odinga who secured 44.7 per cent. 

Nearly 80 per cent of the 19 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to their figures.

Urging calm after the result was announced, Mr Kenyatta spoke to Mr Odinga’s supporters to say: “To our brothers, our worthy competitors, we are not enemies, we are all citizens of the same republic.”

Supporters of incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta celebrate in downtown Nairobi (EPA)

Earlier on Friday, the opposition, led by Mr Odinga, who has lost the last two elections amid complaints of fraud, said it rejected the process.

“We raised some very serious concerns, they have not responded to them. As NASA (opposition coalition) we shall not be party to the process they are about to make,” senior opposition official Musalia Mudavadi told reporters.

James Orengo, one of Mr Odinga’s lieutenants and an election agent for the opposition coalition, said the process had been a “charade”.

He praised the Kenyan people’s history of standing up to stolen elections and said there were “constitutional alternatives” to challenging any result, but he stopped short of calling for protests.

“Going to court, for us, is not an alternative. We have been there before,” he said.

“The Kenyan people have never disappointed … every time an election has been stolen, the Kenyan people have stood up to make sure changes are made to make Kenya a better place.”

Earlier, Mr Orengo had called for candidates and observers to be given access to the election commission’s computer servers so there could be a transparent audit of data from 41,000 polling stations across the country.

Yakub Guliye, election commissioner in charge of information technology, said the opposition had not made a formal request and it would not act on a verbal request.

Normal procedure calls for the commission to release final results after cross checking its electronic tally with paper forms.

Mr Odinga’s camp has said figures released by the commission since Tuesday’s vote were “fictitious” and that “confidential sources” within the commission had provided figures showing the opposition leader had a large lead in the race.

The election commission rejected the claims, saying they contained basic mathematical errors.

Police beefed up security across much of Kenya – particularly in opposition strongholds in the west and parts of Nairobi – in anticipation of the announcement of the election result on Friday.

Kenya is the leading economy in East Africa and any instability would be likely to ripple through the region.

Reporting by Reuters


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