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Rival denounces Kibaki, deadly political violence continues after allegations of vote rigging

Rival denounces Kibaki, deadly political violence continues after allegations of vote rigging

Kenya's opposition leader compared President Mwai Kibaki to a military dictator Monday as a third day of deadly violence raged over allegations that Kibaki rigged the vote. Heavily armed police were trying to contain protesters in Nairobi's slums with tear gas and by firing bullets into the air.
"There is no difference between him and Idi Amin and other military dictators who have seized power through the barrel of the gun," Raila Odinga said at a news conference, one day after Kibaki was declared winner of a second five-year term.
The violence has killed at least 34 people since Saturday across the country, police and witnesses said, although the tally was likely higher. Nineteen of the deaths were in Kisumu, some 295 kilometers (185 miles) from Nairobi, according to a witness who saw the bodies at the mortuary.
"All of them had bullet wounds, they were brought in overnight," said the witness, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "They were shot."
Kibaki, 76, was sworn in almost immediately after the results were announced Sunday. Within minutes, the slums _ home to tens of thousands of opposition supporters who believe the election was rigged _ exploded into fresh violence.
"We have been rigged out, we are not going to accept defeat," 24-year-old James Onyango, who lives in the Kibera shantytown, said Monday. "We are ready to die and we're ready for serious killings."
Kibera resident Selina Angeyo, 14, said police had shot her brother in the stomach along with another man. Her brother had been taken to a hospital. Shortly after she spoke to reporters she was arrested and taken away, crying.
An Associated Press reporter saw a man who had been shot in the head being carried in a blanket. The men around him said he had been shot by police and they were taking him to the mortuary. Neither incident was witnessed by reporters and police were not immediately available for comment.
Teams of riot police fired shots into the air and tear gas into homes and businesses; in one home, a woman and her four young children ran out, retching.
"We were just hiding from the shots," said Dorothy Nyangasi, frantically pouring water over the eyes of her 6-month-old old son Daniel.
Other residents said that they had not been able to find food since shops closed for elections on Thursday and trouble began over the delayed vote-counting.
"This place is just in tatters. We used to have food and shops here," said Bernard Ichodo, a father of two, standing in the smoking ruins of the marketplace. Supermarkets in other parts of town have also been closed for fear of looters, and he had only been able to find two meals _ of bread and mangos _ in the past four days. Another woman shouted "hungry! hungry!" at passing journalists.
Odinga, the firebrand opposition candidate who had been leading early results and public opinion polls, rejected the results and was planning a ceremony to be declared "the people's president" later Monday in Nairobi's Uhuru Park _ where protesters seeking multiparty democracy used to gather in the early 1990s.
Police banned the event, and hundreds of riot police were deployed around the park.
While Kibaki won the presidency, the opposition took most of the parliamentary seats in Thursday's vote.
The bloodshed is a stunning turn of events 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 the greatest test yet of this young, multiparty democracy and expressed great disappointment as the process descended into chaos.
Odinga said the dispute could trigger a political crisis and compared the country to Ivory Coast _ the once stable West African nation where a 2002 coup sparked a civil war.
Elections chief Samuel Kivuitu, who read the results on live television after other media were expelled from the main vote headquarters Sunday, said Kibaki beat Odinga by 231,728 votes in the closest race in Kenya's history.
But even Kivuitu had acknowledged problems with the count, including a constituency where voter turnout was 115 percent and another where a candidate ran away with ballot papers.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the 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."
Kibaki's supporters say he has turned Kenya's 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.
But Kibaki's anti-graft campaign has largely been seen as a failure, and the country still struggles with tribalism and poverty.
The election violence had a disturbing tribal undertone in the slums, where youths shouted ethnic slurs. Kibaki, from the Kikuyu tribe, has been accused of maintaining the tribal patronage system of the Moi years. Odinga is a Luo, another major tribe.
Tribal allegiances have always been a factor in elections in Kenya, where there are more than 40 tribes, and where candidates on the campaign trail are not above appealing to tribe in subtle as well as direct ways. They use phrases like, "It is our time to eat," knowing voters understand that whoever controls the presidency has power to allocate money, jobs and other benefits.
In the Mathare slum, Mercy Akinyi, 20, blamed the election for inciting tribal violence.
"We have coexisted in this slum in peace," she said. "Now that the politicians are fighting, does that mean killing each other?"
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Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Tom Maliti and Tom Odula contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-07-31 11:49 GMT+08:00