Deadly Kenya protests as opposition alleges vote hacking

Deadly Kenya protests as opposition alleges vote hacking

Kenya’s election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital and elsewhere after opposition leader Raila Odinga alleged fraud, saying hackers used the identity of a murdered official to infiltrate the database of the country’s election commission and manipulate results.

With results from almost all of the polling stations counted, President Uhuru Kenyatta was shown with a wide lead over Odinga in his bid for a second term.

 

Opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga addresses a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Odinga says hackers infiltrated the database of the country's election commission and manipulated the results. Early results show President Uhuru Kenyatta with a wide lead over Odinga. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)  

 

Soon after Odinga spoke on television, angry protesters in slums of Nairobi and the opposition stronghold of Kisumu in the southwest burned tires, set up roadblocks and clashed with police, witnesses said.

Two people were shot dead in Nairobi as they took advantage of the protests to steal, Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said. An Associated Press photographer said one was shot in the head.

Kenyan police opened fire on people protesting election results earlier Wednesday in another opposition stronghold, killing one person. The shooting happened in South Mugirango constituency in Kisii county, said Leonard Katana, a regional police commander.

A relative wails near the body of a man who had been shot in the head and who the crowd claimed had been shot by police, in the Mathare area of Nairobi, Kenya ,Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Kenya's election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

A relative wails near the body of a man who had been shot in the head and who the crowd claimed had been shot by police, in the Mathare area of Nairobi, Kenya ,Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Kenya's election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

A relative wails on the floor of an alleyway near the body of a man who had been shot in the head and who the crowd claimed had been shot by police, as the angry crowd shouts towards the police, in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Kenya's election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

A woman wails in front of the covered body of a man who had been shot in the head and who the crowd claimed had been shot by police, as the angry crowd shouts towards the police, in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Kenya's election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Many parts of Kenya, East Africa’s commercial hub, were calm a day after the elections for president and more than 1,800 other posts down to the county level. But the violence stirred memories of the unrest following the 2007 vote in which more than 1,000 people were killed. Odinga lost that election; he also lost the 2013 vote to Kenyatta and took allegations of vote-tampering to the Supreme Court, which rejected his case.

Odinga, a former prime minister, blamed Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party for the alleged hacking of the election database.

“The fraud Jubilee has perpetuated on Kenyans surpasses any level of voter theft in our country’s history. This time we caught them,” he tweeted.

A television cameraman films Kenyans checking if their names are on the electoral lists at a polling station in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Kenyans are due to go to the polls on Aug. 8, to vote in presidential elections after a tightly-fought race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

A television cameraman films Kenyans checking if their names are on the electoral lists at a polling station in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Kenyans are due to go to the polls on Aug. 8, to vote in presidential elections after a tightly-fought race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Odinga claimed that hackers used the identity of Christopher Msando, an election official in charge of managing information technology systems. On July 31, officials announced that Msando had been tortured and killed, alarming Kenyans who feared a recurrence of political violence that has been fueled by ethnic divisions.

Msando had sought to reassure voters that election results would not be tampered with.

Rafael Tuju, a top official in Kenyatta’s party, said the opposition’s claims were unfounded.

Kenya’s election commission said it will investigate Odinga’s allegations. “For now, I cannot say whether or not the system has been hacked,” said Wafula Chebukati, the commission chairman.

A Kenyan goes through vetting to cast his vote at a polling station in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Kenyans are going to the polls to vote in a general election after a tightly fought presidential race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/ Sayyid Abdul Azim)

An electoral counting officer, center, counts votes while others hold the piles of ballots counted for each candidate, at a polling station in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Kenyans are going to the polls to vote in a general election after a tightly-fought presidential race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Kenyatta was leading with 54.35 percent and Odinga had 44.77 percent after votes at more than 39,320 of the 40,883 polling stations were counted, according to the election commission.

In the city of Kisumu, police used tear gas and shot at protesters who were upset after Odinga’s fraud allegations, said demonstrator Sebastian Omolo.

“He is not accepting the results and that is why we are on the streets, but police have started shooting,” Omolo said.

A polling official marks a voter's finger after casting his vote at a polling station in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Kenyans are going to the polls to vote in a general election after a tightly fought presidential race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/ Sayyid Abdul Azim)

A polling official marks a voter's finger after casting his vote at a polling station in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Kenyans are going to the polls to vote in a general election after a tightly fought presidential race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga. (AP Photo/ Sayyid Abdul Azim)

Kisumu shopkeeper Festus Odhiambo said he was praying for peace even as protesters blocked roads into city slums with bonfires and boulders.

The western port city on Lake Victoria has been a flashpoint in past elections.

Kenya’s interior minister, Fred Matiangi, warned against the use of social media to stoke tensions. Officials have said it was unlikely they would shut down the internet but said they might shut down some social media if necessary to calm hate speech and incitement.

Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga demonstrate in the Mathare area of Nairobi Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Kenya's election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital and elsewhere after opposition leader Raila Odinga alleged fraud, saying hackers used the identity of a murdered official to infiltrate the database of the country's election commission and manipulate results. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

“We assure Kenyans and all residents, the country is safe and I urge everyone to go on freely with their daily chores,” Matiangi said.

Odinga’s running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, also called for restraint as the fraud allegations are investigated.

“There may come a time we may have to call you to action,” Musyoka said. “But for now it is important we be strategic as we delve deep into this matter.”


Text from the AP news story, Kenya awaits vote results amid violence, hacking allegations, by Tom Odula and Christopher Torchia.