Riot police fired teargas at opposition supporters in a slum in Kenya’s capital on Monday, as the country awaited official confirmation of a landslide win for incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta in re-run elections.
Supporters of the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, have already branded the election a farce – he boycotted last week’s vote which was held after the Supreme Court annulled the original August poll citing procedural irregularities.
Protesters gathered in Nairobi’s Kawangware slum, trying to block a visit from Interior Minister Fred Matiang‘i, witnesses said, hours before the expected announcement of the results at 3.30 pm (1230 GMT).
“Now people are fighting with the police and they (the police) are using teargas,” resident Vitalis Aloyi said by phone.
In the slum of Mathare, the scene of deadly clashes between police and protesters immediately after the August poll, social worker Ann Mbuthia, 58, said women were hurrying home before the results.
“We are afraid because here in Mathare youth are ready to fight if Uhuru is announced (the winner),” she said. “Women are afraid to come out the houses.”
Some Kenyans fear that the political violence, which has mostly been protesters clashing with police, is beginning to take on ethnic overtones after two deaths in clashes between rival groups at the weekend.
On Monday, the U.S. ambassador said Washington was “profoundly concerned” by the outbreaks of violence since the Oct. 26 vote.
Results from 266 out of 291 constituencies displayed at the national tallying center showed Kenyatta winning 98 percent of the vote.
The electoral commission said 7,616,217 valid votes were cast, representing a turnout of 42.36 percent in areas where polls opened.
But protests by Odinga’s supporters prevented polling stations from opening in 25 constituencies. If those constituencies are included, turnout dropped to 38.84 percent of 19,611,423 registered voters.
The election commission said that poor security prevented them from holding the vote in those areas, but that since it would not “materially affect” the result, the final announcement could go ahead.
Odinga pulled out of the vote, saying the election commission had failed to institute reforms to prevent the kind of “illegalities and irregularities” that scuppered Kenyatta’s win in the August vote.
Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, a coalition of civil society organizations with 2,000 election observers, said in a report there were “multiple” cases where results from polling stations differed from results on the forms posted on the election portal after last week’s vote.
They supplied a photo taken by their observers of the tally sheet for Bashaal market center in Garissa. It showed 133 votes for Kenyatta while the form displayed online showed 433 votes.
Additional reporting by John Ndiso, George Obulutsa, and Judith Kanaya; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Heavens