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Violent protests erupt in parts of Kenya over the vote

#Violent #protests #erupt #parts #Kenya #vote

As news of Raila Odinga’s defeat in Kenya’s presidential election filtered through to its stronghold of Kisumu on Monday, angry supporters poured into the streets, hurling rocks and claiming election fraud as police fired tear gas to disperse them.

The 77-year-old’s young supporters – who affectionately call him ‘Baba’ or ‘Father’ in Swahili – told AFP they were furious at Odinga losing his fifth trick of Kenya’s presidency.

Odinga, a veteran opposition politician now backed by the ruling party, has not spoken publicly since the results were announced, but has accused his opponents of cheating him out of the 2007, 2013 and 2017 presidential elections.

In particular, the 2007 polls – which many independent observers also viewed as deeply flawed – cast a long shadow over Kenyan politics and unleashed a wave of ethnic violence that pitted tribal groups against each other and claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people.

As the sun set on Kisumu, many protesters gathered at a roundabout in the western lakeside town, throwing rocks and setting fire to tires while blocking roads with broken rocks.

“It wasn’t free and fair. We were scammed,” 26-year-old Odinga supporter Collins Odoyo told AFP as he rushed off to join the crowd, barefoot and with a vuvuzela horn on his back.

Many shops in Kisumu closed early amid fears of possible protests over the outcome, and at least one supermarket was looted as young men walked away with groceries and electronics.

“The government has to listen to us. She needs to rerun the election,” Isaac Onyango, 24, said through tears as police tried to defuse the demonstration with tear gas.

“You can’t steal us!” shouted a young man with a balaclava and a club.

Another protester, loading a rock into a slingshot, yelled, “We will not surrender!”

– “Stop lying to Kenyans” –

Many in Kisumu had eagerly awaited Odinga’s victory, seeing it as a rightful crowning of a leader long denied the throne.

Even with a neck-and-neck race on Monday morning, most were unable – or unwilling – to think of any outcome other than their man taking home the win.

Within minutes of President-elect William Ruto’s victory, the evening sky over Kisumu was smeared black as tires and wooden stands were set on fire and used to cordon off a major intersection, with protesters shouting “No Baba, No Peace.”

AFP correspondents reported that police fired live rounds as protests erupted in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, where Odinga is popular.

And across town in Kibera, one of Nairobi’s largest slums, supporters called for a replay while hurling rocks.

“Baba’s voice was stolen,” said motorcycle taxi driver Emmanuel Otieno.

“Stop lying to the Kenyans, we know Baba won,” said another protester, Eliud Omolo, waving a banner supporting Odinga.

– “Keep Calm” –

The mood was very different in Ruto’s Rift Valley bastion of Eldoret, which erupted in jubilation even before the 55-year-old was named president-elect.

“We’re so lucky it’s one of us… we’re proud of our son,” teacher Winnie Ndalut told AFP as dozens of people paraded through the city carrying posters of Ruto.

“It’s the victory of all those who are at the bottom economically… We know he’s going to be the person that’s going to pick us up,” she said.

Several thousand people gathered at one of Eldoret’s main intersections from noon (0900 GMT) to watch the election results on a giant screen.

“William Ruto will be the president of those who lose and those who win,” 34-year-old Laban Keter told AFP while awaiting the official result, urging Odinga supporters to “please hear the verdict of the… to accept the people”. .

“Let’s move this country forward by keeping the peace and accepting the victor,” he said.

“It is a victory for all of Kenya, there is no division, we are all one family, we are all brothers, we are all sisters. Kenya is one,” said wholesaler Hillary Kebenei.

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#Violent #protests #erupt #parts #Kenya #vote

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