There has been widespread unrest in some parts of Kenya following the announcement of the presidential election results, by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which essentially granted Uhuru Kenyatta a second term in office.
The results announced on Friday night, saw IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati declare Kenyatta winner of the August 8 polls with a total of 8.2 million votes as his main rival and opposition leader Raila Odinga garnered 6.7 million votes. The announcement sparked outrage and protests in Odinga’s stronghold areas of Siaya and Kisumu counties in what his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition team, claimed was once again foul play against the veteran politician.
Additionally, several people have lost their lives as a result of clashes between police and Odinga’s supporters during a night operation in those areas. Images that circulated a week to the polls showing body bags transported by the law enforcers to Kisumu now raised eye brows as to whether the backlash was expected. At least one person was shot dead with scores of others injured.
Witnesses and victims alike have come out to state that indeed there was police brutality in the manner in which they conducted their operations. Some said that their homes were raided and that men were mainly targeted.
In Nairobi’s Mathare slums, an area considered to be Odinga’s stronghold, at least 12 people have been killed including a 10 year-old girl. Stephanie Mokaya was in her playful element with other children when a stray bullet hit and killed her.
Security minister rebuffs police brutality claims
Interior Security Minister Fred Matiangi has rebuffed claims that his police forces used real bullets in dealing with protesters despite reports suggesting otherwise. “I can tell you at this point and time that the police have not shot at peaceful protesters. It is not true that they used live bullets. We must draw a distinction between peaceful protesters and opportunistic criminals, looters and those out to break the law. We must understand that in those cases, the police will respond differently,” he said in a state of security address to the nation.
In a press conference held on Wednesday, the NASA team rejected the projected results showing Kenyatta significantly in the lead claiming that IEBC’s system was hacked. Furthermore, a report has been tabled showing that the server was accessed using the credentials of former IT manager Chris Musando who was wretchedly murdered days to the elections. It states that an antilogarithm was used to ensure Kenyatta’s continuous lead throughout the process.
Odinga has yet to concede defeat and has not addressed the media in four days, with one NASA co-principal calling it a ‘precautionary measure’ during this sensitive time. It was his fourth attempt at the country’s top job and at 72; this has been considered as a final chapter to an illustrious political career where he is viewed as a revolutionary leader.
In his acceptance speech, Kenyatta called for peace across the nation and urged Odinga to work with him going forward. He is yet to be sworn in as a petition is expected from the opposition contesting the credibility of the results.
By far and large, the country conducted peaceful voting regardless of the diverse political affiliations. The IEBC was given thumbs up by the international media and observers due to its ability to deliver a smooth voting process which had experienced hitches in 2013.
A milestone for women and the youth in politics
Lastly, this election accomplished a major milestone for women in politics as three have been elected as governors, a first in the country’s history. Veteran Charity Ngilu (Kitui County), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga County) and Joyce Laboso (Bomet County) were declared winners in their respective counties and will be part of the 47 council of governors in the new government. The trio defied the norm where women have often shied away from contesting for top electoral government jobs.
John Mwirigi, a 24 year-old university student, is the symbol of a crop of youthful leaders in this election after he was elected as the youngest Member of Parliament in Kenyan history. Mwirigi admitted that he carried out campaigns on a bicycle due to lack of funds.