The Latest: Kenya police say 3 dead in protests over vote
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Latest on Kenya’s repeat elections. (all times local):
Kenyan police say three people died during the country’s repeat presidential election amid confrontations between protesters and security forces.
A statement late Thursday says one person died of a gunshot wound in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu County when about 300 people “stormed into” a vote counting center. It says another person was shot dead in Homa Bay in western Kenya when hundreds of people tried to force their way into a police base.
The statement says the third person died at a Kisumu County hospital after being brought in by someone who said he had been shot in a confrontation.
Earlier Thursday a police source said another person was killed in Athi River town outside the capital, Nairobi. The police source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Polling stations were closing in Kenya after a repeat presidential election that was marred in some areas by clashes between police and opposition protesters who say the vote isn’t credible.
The official closing time for the voting sites was 5 p.m. (1400GMT) Thursday, though election officials have said that polling stations that opened late because of what they called “logistical challenges” can stay open later.
Some polling stations in opposition areas didn’t open at all because of security problems. Election officials say voting in some areas that were affected by the political tension and unrest will be delayed until Saturday.
The head of Kenya’s election commission says some areas of the country will vote in the presidential election on Saturday because of delays caused by security problems.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, said voting in several areas, including the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, will be held on Saturday.
Opposition supporters who are boycotting the election fought police in some parts of Kenya on Thursday. Polling stations were closed and voting did not occur in those areas.
A Kenyan police source says three people have been killed in protests over the repeat presidential election.
The source says one person was killed in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu County, another in Homa Bay in the west and the third in Athi River town outside the capital, Nairobi.
The police source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
A Kenyan election official says that not a single ballot box has been delivered to the 190 polling stations in central Kisumu, a major city and opposition stronghold that has seen violent protests against the country’s presidential election. Kisumu, in western Kenya, is the country’s third largest city.
John Ngutai Muyekho, a senior election official, on Thursday sat with the uncollected ballot boxes in a high school that was guarded by about 30 members of the security forces.
“If anyone comes to collect, I’m ready. But so far, no one has,” Muyekho said.
Supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga are boycotting the election, saying it is not credible. Many polling stations in opposition areas have not opened because of security concerns.
Kenya’s top police official says there has been some violence but most of the country has been peaceful during Thursday’s presidential election, although there is lower turnout than in an Aug. 8 election that was nullified by the Supreme Court.
Joseph Boinet, Kenya’s police inspector general, says there has been violence in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, as well as in the region of Kisumu, a major city in the west that is an opposition stronghold. A separate police statement said there has been violence in parts of five of Kenya’s 47 counties.
Boinet says the job of security forces is to protect voters, as well as to allow others who don’t want to vote “the space to enjoy that right.”
Opposition supporters are boycotting the election, saying it is not credible.
The head judge of Kenya’s Supreme Court has traveled to his rural home to vote in the presidential election, one day after the court failed to muster enough judges to hear a last-minute petition seeking to postpone the vote.
Accompanied by his wife, Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday voted in Nyamira County.
“I have finished my mission and I can now leave,” the Daily Nation newspaper quoted Maraga as saying.
On Wednesday, Maraga appeared alone at the Supreme Court and said only he and one other judge were able to attend the hearing on the petition. The driver for the court’s deputy chief justice was shot and wounded Tuesday evening, raising fears about intimidation of the judiciary.
Kenyan police say one man shot by police during violent protests against the repeat presidential election has died at a hospital.
The shooting occurred in the city of Kisumu, an opposition stronghold. Three other people were admitted to a hospital with gunshot wounds.
An Associated Press journalist in Kisumu saw ambulances transporting several people from the protests.
Kenya’s top police official says most of the country has been peaceful during Thursday’s repeat presidential election, although turnout is lower than in the Aug. 8 vote that the Supreme Court nullified over irregularities.
Joseph Boinnet, Kenya’s police inspector general, says there has been violence in parts of the Nairobi slums of Kibera and Mathare as well as in Kisumu, a major city that is an opposition stronghold.
Boinnet says the job of security forces is to protect voters and allow others who don’t want to vote “the space to enjoy that right.”
Opposition supporters are boycotting the election, saying it is not credible.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has voted in his hometown of Gatundu, saying that 90 percent of the country is calm and that he will work to unify the country if he is re-elected.
Kenyatta on Thursday said outside a polling station that Kenya must remove ethnic loyalties from its politics in order to succeed.
“What we have is a problem of tribalism, and tribalism is an issue that we must continue to deal with and fight with as we continue to develop our country,” Kenyatta said. “We cannot achieve our goals if we continue to embark on tribalistic politics.”
Many observers say Kenya’s ethnic-based politics overshadow the promise of its democracy. Kenyatta is from the Kikuyu group, while opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is boycotting Thursday’s election, is a Luo.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga says the opposition will press for what it deems credible elections after boycotting Thursday’s repeat presidential election because of what it says is a lack of adequate reforms to the electoral commission.
Odinga’s challenge to the August elections, which were won by President Uhuru Kenyatta, led the Supreme Court to annul those results, citing illegalities, and order a repeat election.
Now Odinga is urging a boycott of Thursday’s elections. Odinga said Wednesday that the opposition coalition, National Super Alliance, will become a resistance movement.
A statement from Odinga Thursday says his movement will constitute a “People’s Assembly to guide the country to a fresh free and fair presidential election” as part of its peaceful resistance.
Odinga said the resistance will also include boycotting goods and services by those who have supported Kenyatta’s “lawless grab of the presidency.” He says Kenyatta’s push for an election, despite concerns overs its credibility even from the electoral commission’s chief, is due to the fact that he had alienated many voters and could only win an election unfairly.
Kenyatta’s is the leading candidate in Thursday’s election. Six other candidates on the ballot got less than one per cent in the nullified election in August.
Kenyan police on Thursday fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in some opposition areas after the start of Kenya’s second presidential election since August, reflecting bitter divisions in a country whose main opposition leader urged his followers to boycott the vote.
Violence erupted in Nairobi’s Kibera slum and Kisumu, a major city in western Kenya where protesters set fires and blocked roads, and many polling stations didn’t open because of security concerns. One Kisumu primary school that saw huge lines of voters when it served as a polling station in Kenya’s Aug. 8 election was closed this time around, its gates locked.
Voting, meanwhile, proceeded in areas where President Uhuru Kenyatta has support, but fewer voters were turning out in comparison to the August election that the Supreme Court nullified because it found illegalities and irregularities in the election process.
Voters lined up before dawn at a polling station in Kenyatta’s hometown of Gatundu and electoral workers prepared ballot papers by flashlight after heavy rains knocked out power to the site.
Kenyatta, who was declared the winner in August with 54 percent of the vote, said in a televised address Wednesday that security forces would be deployed nationwide to ensure order, and he urged Kenyans to vote while respecting the rights of those who don’t.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who got nearly 45 percent in August, said the new vote won’t be credible because of a lack of electoral reform and accused Kenyatta of moving a country known for relative stability and openness toward authoritarian rule.
Associated Press journalists Christopher Torchia in Nairobi, Andrew Drake in Kisumu and Joe Mwihia in Gatundu, contributed to this report.