Kenya election: One killed during clashes between police and opposition supporters

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One person has been killed and others injured during clashes between police and opposition supporters as Kenya holds its controversial election re-run.

The death was confirmed by hospital officials in Kisumu, where police used tear gas and water cannons on opposition supporters, who were protesting the election repeat. The victim died due to blood loss from a gunshot wound to the thigh, according to officials.

Kenya’s election re-run marred by violence

Police fired live ammunition on protestors across parts of the country on Thursday, as the country attempts to hold a successful presidential election at the second time of asking. Former opposition candidate Raila Odinga pulled out of the race ahead of the election repeat, which leaves President Uhuru Kenyatta as the only candidate in this week’s poll.

Raila Odinga called on opposition supporters to boycott the election before withdrawing his candidacy and many appear to be following suit. Aside from staying away from ballot boxes, many opposition supporters are taking to the street to protest against the country’s electoral commission, which failed to hold a successful election in August.

Security forces deployed nationwide

Before the election repeat, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that security forces would be deployed nationwide to disperse opposition crowds. However, people in much of the country are voting peacefully without any problems.

Security in the capital Nairobi is particularly tight with soldiers equipped with long guns and tear gas patrolling around polling stations.

In Kibera, the city’s main opposition stronghold, armed police fired live ammunition, bank rounds and tear gas into the air as opposition supporters threw stones.

The story is very different in Kenyatta strongholds like Kiambu, to the north of Nairobi. President Kenyatta is urging people from both sides and all ethnic backgrounds to maintain peace, whether they choose to vote or not.

“After you vote — and I have said this before — please go home. Go back to your neighbour. Remember that in spite of their origin, your neighbour is your brother; your neighbour is your sister,” he said.

“For those who wish not to vote, your rights are also equally protected by the very same constitution.”

 

Featured image: “Kenya Election Posters” flickr photo by theglobalpanorama https://flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/14483736320 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.