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Opposition leader calls on Kenyan president to concede as violence kills at least 14

Opposition leader calls on Kenyan president to concede as violence kills at least 14

Kenya's opposition candidate called on President Mwai Kibaki to concede defeat Sunday, accusing him of fraud as a chaotic vote count sparked a second day of violence that has killed at least 14 people.
"This government has lost all legitimacy and cannot govern," Raila Odinga said Sunday, three days after the vote.
Odinga had a razor-thin lead of 38,000 votes, but the electoral commission suspended announcing results Saturday night, promising to look into allegations of fraud. If Kibaki loses, he will be Kenya's first sitting president ousted at the ballot box.
The delays and suspicions of rigging sparked violent clashes in Nairobi's slums and other opposition strongholds. Nine people were killed in the Mathare shantytown Sunday, bringing the death toll around the country to at least 14 in two days of fighting, said police official Joshua Omukulong.
"These are our guns," said 24-year-old Cliff Owino, holding up a handful of rocks in Mathare, where young men were setting up roadblocks and building bonfires. "But a voting card is our atomic weapon."
Others were shouting "Kibaki must go!" and waving machetes in the air as buses and shops burned.
Odinga called on Kibaki to concede and asked for a recount, saying the electoral commission "cannot possibly address the multiple levels of fraud administered by this administration."
But Kibaki's camp urged patience for the official results, and accused Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement of being behind the violence. "ODM is responsible for all the incitement that is taking place right now," said Danson Mungatana, an official with Kibaki's Party of National Unity.
Kibaki's camp said they were not opposed to a recount, but were concerned about the effects of a delay.
Thousands of people were out in force for a second day in Nairobi's slums, enraged over the delays and shouting claims of rigging. The streets of Nairobi were largely deserted, with shops and restaurants shuttered and padlocked, but the shantytowns of Kibera and Mathare were scenes of chaos.
"What you are seeing now is small," warned Moses Ogolla, amid the noise and burning vehicles in Mathare. "Right now we are just trying to send a message. But if they say Kibaki wins, Kenya will never be the same again."
In Kisumu, residents were fleeing as military police patrolled the city to stop Saturday's looting and rioting.
"There is no public transportation, the streets are deserted," said Lilian Ajode, 34, who left town on a bicycle taxi. "The people who are looting have nothing to lose." She said she saw two dead bodies on the street; police on Saturday said three people had been killed in the area.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, chief European Union election monitor, also voiced concerns about the counting process Sunday, saying there is "a big question mark over the tallying of results."
"Our observers have been turned away from several tallying centers without being given results," he said.
Hundreds of people died in election-related clashes in the months leading up to the vote, but most observers said the vote itself appeared generally orderly, with no major disruptions reported.
Kivuitu, the electoral commission chairman, acknowledged there had been problems, including a constituency where voter turnout added up to 115 percent and another where a candidate ran away with ballot papers.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey condemned the violence.
"Regardless of the eventual winners of this election, we call on Kenyans across the political spectrum to work together to advance democracy and national development," he said.
The British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, also called for an end to the fighting.
"This is a pivotal moment for Kenya," he said. "The international community hopes that Kenya will live up to both the letter and the spirit of its democratic principles."
Supporters of 76-year-old Kibaki say he has turned Kenya's moribund economy into an East African powerhouse, with an average growth rate of 5 percent and a booming tourism industry.
He won by a landslide in 2002, ending 24 years in power by the notoriously corrupt Daniel arap Moi, who was constitutionally barred from extending his term.
But Kibaki's anti-graft campaign has largely been seen as a failure, and the country still struggles with tribalism and poverty. After the opposition took most of the parliamentary seats, he may find it difficult to rule even if he wins.
Odinga, a fiery 62-year-old former political prisoner, promised change and help for the poor. His main constituency is Kibera, home to at least 700,000 people who live in extreme poverty and the scene of many of Saturday's riots.
In recent months he has made it a priority to reach out to the country's middle class and businessmen, many of whom belong to Kibaki's tribe, the Kikuyu. Odinga belongs to the Luo tribe.
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Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Tom Maliti, Malkhadir M. Muhumed and Tom Odula contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-08-02 02:08 GMT+08:00