Kenyan protesters took to the streets after a tense Friday election resulted in a disputed victory for incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta. The opposition party blasted the vote as a “charade,” claiming results had been manipulated by a hacker using the credentials of a recently murdered election official.
As Kenyatta—elected to another five-year term—called for unity, opposition leader Raila Odinga asked his followers to demand justice, but underscored that he was not calling for violence. There were reports on Twitter and Al Jazeera that police had used tear gas and live bullets to disperse protesters. As unrest grew in Nairobi’s and Kisumu’s neighborhoods, the government said it had mobilized 180,000 security officers to grapple with more dissent, the BBC reported.
On Saturday, officials and witnesses told Reuters that police had shot and killed eleven people during protests since the election results were announced Friday night. The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights said that at least 24 people, including a 6-year-old child, had been killed.
— Eyder Peralta (@eyderp) August 10, 2017
“With growing reports of demonstrations and heavy gunfire in some areas, it is important for security forces to work to deescalate—not escalate—the violence,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The police should not use tear gas or live ammunition simply because they consider a gathering unlawful.”
“I don’t control anybody,” Odinga told CNN on Thursday. “What is happening is that people just want to see justice. We also hope that the security forces are not going to use excessive force.”
Just wondering…thought the declared winner promised peace.
Why are Kenyans suffering the highhandedness of kenyan security pic.twitter.com/0mGTgKeAdS
— Chinta (@kenya_politico) August 11, 2017
John Kerry and other international observers in the country urged calm and said the results—which showed an unexpectedly wide margin of 1.4 million votes for Kenyatta—were acceptable, and that a review of the election should be conducted through the courts. Former President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, has urged the country to reject “tribal and ethnic hatred” and to “work together no matter what the outcome.”
“If anything was electronically fiddled with, there is a way to go back and absolutely ascertain what happened in the polling station,” Kerry said on Thursday. Kerry—who in 2004 conceded to George W. Bush amid questions about voting in Ohio—did not discount the possibility of election tampering. But he and other international observers said the electoral system appeared mostly fair, in part because votes were collected electronically and then approved by multiple party officers from both parties at…