KUNM

A Deadly Aftermath Of Kenya's Election

Aug 12, 2017
Originally published on August 23, 2017 1:01 am
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STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

In Kenya, violence has killed 24 people since Tuesday's presidential vote. The violence has gotten worse since official results were announced yesterday, giving incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta the victory. Kenya's Commission on Human Rights said all the victims were killed by police gunfire, and it's calling on security forces to stop using live ammunition against civilians. Today, police battled demonstrators rioting in Nairobi slums. NPR's Eyder Peralta joins us now from Nairobi.

Welcome.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Hi, Stacey.

SMITH: So the opposition is saying the election was rigged, and supporters seem to be digging in for a fight. What's happening now?

PERALTA: I mean, today, the opposition released a statement in which they said, they reject the, quote, "sham presidential results announced yesterday" - so not much change from where they started. They say that there was hacking, and there was a big conspiracy to steal this election from the opposition leader, Raila Odinga. And today, I spent the whole day in Kibera, which is Nairobi's biggest slum. And there was just another day of rioting.

Police used tear gas against protesters, and they fired both live rounds and blanks. And at one point today, the opposition leaders decided to head over to Kibera, the slum, to talk to their constituents and sort of get a firsthand view of what was happening there. And when they got there, I saw about a couple dozen vehicles, and they just zoomed to pass through this main street.

And police formed a barricade between one side of the neighborhood and the side of the neighborhood that was rioting. And the politicians - some of them were members of Parliament - tried to cross the line. And here's me narrating what happened next.

Police are firing tear gas at them. And now, as you can hear, the vehicles are retreating from the area.

So they all made these rapid U-turns and just got out of there. At a press conference after that happened, they said, they were ambushed by security services. And they accused police of firing at them, not just tear gas but bullets.

SMITH: Has the opposition leader Raila Odinga addressed the nation since since his official loss?

PERALTA: He hasn't. And I think that's a really big deal. One of the things that I think we need to understand about this is that Raila Odinga is considered, by many in the opposition, to be a father figure. He is a figure who has been around in this country for many, many years. His father was one of the Independence heroes in this country. And what Raila Odinga says, people, or his supporters, will do.

So I think what this country is waiting for, right now, is for Raila Odinga to make a statement, to concede the election or do something else. And I think everybody's sort of holding their breath to see what this will be. Because he can very easily take this country toward stability or very easily throw it into chaos.

And I think it's important to mention that Uhuru Kenyatta won by an incredible margin. He beat Raila Odinga by some 1.4 million votes. So a large part of this country is celebrating. Another thing, I think, that has gotten a bit lost here is that most international observers believe this was a free and fair election.

In fact, the Elections Observation Group here in Kenya just released its own tally of the election. And it found that it was pretty much the same as what Kenya's electoral commission found. So by and large, elections monitor groups believe this election was free and fair.

SMITH: NPR's Eyder Peralta in Nairobi, Kenya. Thank you, Eyder.

PERALTA: Thank you, Stacey.

(SOUNDBITE OF IBRAHIM MAALOUF'S "SURPRISES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.