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.
meanwhile Voting, proceeded in areas where President Uhuru Kenyatta has support, but fewer voters were turning out in comparison to an Aug. 8 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. Downpours also disrupted the delivery of ballot papers in Kenya’s Kitui area, according to local media.
Kenyatta, who was declared the winner in the August 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 said the new vote won’t be credible because of a lack of electoral reform since the August election and accused Kenyatta of moving a country known for relative stability and openness toward authoritarian rule.