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Kenya's president declared winner of vote marred by allegations of rigging, deadly violence

Kenya's president declared winner of vote marred by allegations of rigging, deadly violence

President Mwai Kibaki won a second five-year term Sunday in an election marred by allegations of rigging, sparking fierce rioting in slums that are home to thousands of opposition supporters.
Elections chief Samuel Kivuitu said Kibaki beat Raila Odinga by 231,728 votes in the closest election race in Kenya's history.
Kibaki was sworn in shortly at State House shortly after the results were announced. "We have done our nation proud and set a good example for the rest of the continent," he said.
Within hours, the government suspended all live television coverage "in the interest of public safety and tranquility" as black smoke rose above Nairobi's sprawling Kibera shantytown.
Thousands of people have been on the streets there for the past two days shouting "Kibaki must go!" and claiming the vote was rigged.
Violence around the country has killed at least 15 people since Saturday, authorities said.
"This country is going to turn into a war zone," said Elisha Kayugira, who was hurrying through the slum in search of his sister as the slum burned.
Others were waving machetes in the air as buses and shops burned.
"These are our guns," said 24-year-old Cliff Owino, holding up a handful of rocks in Mathare, a Nairobi slum where young men were setting up roadblocks and building bonfires. "But a voting card is our atomic weapon."
Odinga earlier Sunday called on Kibaki to concede and demanded a recount, saying the electoral commission "cannot possibly address the multiple levels of fraud administered by this administration."
But Kibaki's camp urged patience and await 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.
The disputed campaign comes in one of the most developed countries in Africa, with a booming tourism industry and one of the continent's highest growth rates. Many observers saw the campaign as perhaps the greatest test yet of this young, multiparty democracy and raised grave concerns as the process descended into violence.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, chief European Union election monitor, said the Electoral Commission of Kenya "has not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates."
Kivuitu, the electoral commission chairman, acknowledged problems, including a constituency where voter turnout added up to 115 percent and another where a candidate ran away with ballot papers.
He finally announced the results Sunday three days after polling day to a single local station after other media were expelled from the main vote headquarters.
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.
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, Katharine Houreld, Malkhadir M. Muhumed and Tom Odula contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-15 14:32 GMT+08:00