Two protesters were shot dead by police in the Kenyan capital on Wednesday as rioting broke out after opposition claims of massive rigging in an election that President Uhuru Kenyatta looked certain to win.
Police fired teargas – and in some cases live bullets into the air – to disperse several protests, which erupted in opposition strongholds in Nairobi as well as the western city of Kisumu after opposition candidate Raila Odinga claimed a hacking attack had manipulated electronic tallying results.
Mr Kenyatta looked to have an unassailable lead, according to unofficial results streamed onto the election commission (IEBC) website, handing him 54 per cent compared to Mr Odinga’s 44.7 per cent, with votes from over 96 per cent of polling stations counted.
The bloodshed comes a decade after a disputed poll, which Mr Odinga lost to former president Mwai Kibaki, led to two months of clashes that killed 1,100 people and left 600,000 displaced.
Mr. Odinga tweeted: “The fraud Jubilee has perpetuated on Kenyans surpasses any level of voter theft in our country’s history. This time we caught them.
This is an attack on our democracy. The 2017 general election was a fraud,” Mr Odinga said, claiming detailed evidence of the hackers’ movements.
Decrying a “sham” tallying process, Mr Odinga detailed accusations of a major attack on the electronic system, saying hackers had gained entry using the identity of top IT official Chris Msando, who was found murdered and tortured late last month.
The 72-year-old, who is making his fourth bid for the presidency as the flagbearer for the National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition, accused his rivals of stealing victory from him through rigging in 2007 and in 2013.
“You can only cheat a people for so long,” he said.
A senior police officer confirmed two had been killed in the flashpoint Nairobi slum of Mathare. One of the was young man with a massive gunshot wound to the head.
“They were part of a group that was protesting in the area and officers were sent to quell the chaos. We are told many of them were also thieves who took advantage and could not even obey the police. Two have been fatally wounded,” he said.
Japheth Koome, police chief for Nairobi, said the two who were killed had tried to “attack our officers with pangas (machetes) and that’s when the officers opened fire on them.”
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati insisted the poll was “free and fair”.
“As a commission we shall carry out investigations to establish whether or not the [hacking] claims are true,” he said, adding that the IEBC had a week to release final results.
Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju urged the opposition to “look at the figures soberly” and accept the results.
“You cannot claim that results are fake with respect to presidential vote and you welcome the areas where your governors and MPs have won convincingly. You have to accept the results however they come,” he said.
Mr Odinga urged his supporters to “remain calm as we look deep into this matter.” But he added: “I don’t control the people.”
As his speech ended, scores of supporters gathered in Kisumu and Mathare, burning tyres, setting up barricades and engaging in running battles with riot police.
“If Raila is not president, we can’t have peace,” one Kisumu protester said.