Kenyan Opposition Calls for Strike Over Election StandoffBy and
Odinga calls for move to reject results of Aug. 8 election
Opposition leaders claim more than 100 killed in violence
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga told his supporters not to report for work on Monday to protest the East African nation’s disputed election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term.
Odinga, the presidential candidate for a five-party coalition known as the National Super Alliance, said he’d make an announcement on Tuesday about his next move.
“Tomorrow, there’s no going to work,” Odinga told chanting supporters Sunday in Kibera, a poor neighborhood in the capital, Nairobi. James Orengo, an opposition senator, said at the rally that the alliance is considering calling for mass action, without elaborating.
Kenyatta was declared the winner late Friday of the Aug. 8 vote that the national electoral commission said was free and fair. Nasa, as the opposition coalition is known, said the commission’s computer system was hacked to rig the results and warned that its supporters would rise up in response.
Kenya’s police denied the opposition’s claim that 100 people were killed in post-election violence and also rejected a Kenya National Commission on Human Rights’ statement saying 24 people died. The police said six “criminals” had been shot dead in the past two days, while officers are investigating two other killings by unknown perpetrators. The police are prepared to “protect lives and property from violent rioters,” it said.
Kenyan elections have routinely been marred by violence since the country became a multiparty democracy in 1991. At least 1,100 people died in the wake of a disputed 2007 vote that Odinga lost to Mwai Kibaki, and about 350,000 people were forced to flee their homes.
Protracted turmoil could derail an economy that’s grown an average of 5.7 percent a year since Kenyatta took power in 2013, and threaten its reputation as a top African investment and tourist destination. The country is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and a regional hub for companies including Google Inc. and General Electric Co.
Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu in a statement on Sunday said Kenya’s police won’t tolerate breaches of the peace and it was time to “get back to work and move Kenya forward.”
Protesters spilled onto the streets of several of Nairobi’s slums, including the southwestern areas of Kibera and Kawangware, soon after the election outcome was announced, setting dwellings alight and looting shops, as police used teargas to disperse them. There were also protests in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold.
Fred Matiang’i, the acting interior secretary, said on Saturday that apart from the flareups in Kibera and Kisumu, the country remained calm and peaceful.
Three civil-rights groups contradicted Matiang’i, saying they had received reports that excessive force had been used to break up post-election protests in at least 12 areas.
The security forces’ actions have “led to the loss of lives and destruction of property,” the Coalition for Constitution Implementation Kenya, the Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders Kenya and Bunge la Mwananchi said by email. “We call on the international community and other stakeholders to intervene to stop the situation from deteriorating further and to stem further injuries and loss of lives.”
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said in a statement it had established that 17 people died in Nairobi in post-election violence, and seven more had been killed in other towns. Medecins Sans Frontieres, a medical charity, said on its Twitter account its teams across Kenya treated 64 injured people, 11 of them with gunshot wounds.
Kenyatta, 55, won about 54 percent of the vote, while Odinga, 72, garnered almost 45 percent, tallies released by the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission showed. The opposition said the commission flouted counting procedures and failed to provide documents to back up its totals.