Tension in Kenya as Police battle Odinga supporters

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Kenyan police fired tear-gas

KENYA, AUGUST 9, 2017 – Kenyan police fired tear-gas on Wednesday at a group of 100 chanting supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, shortly after their political leader claimed “massive” fraud in this week’s elections, a Reuters witness said.

Witneses said after the police fired the tear gas, the protesters, who had been chanting “No Raila, no peace,” scattered.

Earlier, Odinga said hackers broke into Kenya’s election commission computer systems and database overnight, leading to “massive and extensive” vote fraud that nullified the published victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking at a news conference, Odinga urged his supporters to remain calm, but added: “I don’t control the people”.

His deputy Kalonzo Muyoka repeated the call for calm but said the opposition might call for unspecified “action” at a later date.

Odinga rejected early results of a presidential election on Wednesday that showed he was losing to incumbent and long-time rival Uhuru Kenyatta, stoking fears that his disgruntled supporters could take to the streets.

As of 0300 GMT, the election commission website put Kenyatta ahead by 55.1 per cent of votes counted to 44 percent for Odinga, margin of nearly 1.4 million ballots with more than 80 per cent of polling stations reported.

Kenyatta, a 55-year-old businessman seeking a second five-year term, had held such a lead since the start of counting after Tuesday’s peaceful vote, the culmination of a hard-fought contest between the heads of Kenya’s two political dynasties.

But Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner and self-described leftist, rejected the results as “fictitious” and “fake”, lashing out in a late night news conference at which he said his party’s own tally put him ahead.

“We have our projections from our agents which show we are ahead by far,” Odinga said, questioning why published results were not accompanied by scanned copies of forms signed by all party agents in polling stations.

Kenyan law states that where there is a discrepancy between a result on the website and the form, the result on the form will be considered final.

Alleging vote-rigging, he also brought up the unsolved torture and murder of a top election official just over a week before the vote.

“We fear this was exactly the reason Chris Msando was assassinated,” he said.

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