Kenyan opposition leader Odinga refuses to back down over ‘stolen’ election after protests leave 16 dead
The 72-year-old told supporters to stay at home and out of the way of police
Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed on Sunday not to back down over an election he claims was stolen from him and urged his supporters to boycott work until he announces his strategy next week.
The 72-year-old told supporters to stay at home and out of the way of police, after the international community urged him to send out a message to try to halt protests that have left 16 people dead since Friday night.
However, he defiantly vowed to “remove” the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who official results showed was re-elected by a large margin in last Tuesday’s election.
“We had predicted they will steal the election and that’s what happened. We are not done yet. We will not give up. Wait for the next course of action which I will announce the day after tomorrow (Tuesday),” he told supporters in Nairobi’s largest slum, Kibera.
“No Raila, no peace,” chanted the crowd, using the rallying cry heard after Odinga claimed a 2007 election was stolen from him.
The results of that poll led to two months of protests and ethnic killings which left 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced.
Friday’s announcement of the election results sparked protests in Odinga’s strongholds in western Kenya and Nairobi slums, including Kibera and Mathare.
At least 16 people have died in the latest violence, AFP records show. Seven were killed in clashes in the west of the country, while nine died in the capital, including a young girl whose family said she had been shot in the back while playing on a balcony in Mathare as police fired on protesters.
Flashpoint areas were calm on Sunday, with signs of life returning as shopkeepers cautiously reopened after two days of running battles with police, who in some cases fired live ammunition to disperse protesters.
Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition has insisted Odinga was robbed of victory through hacking and manipulation of a vote tallying system.
The election was Odinga’s fourth failed shot at the presidency. In 2013 he said the election was rigged and took his case to the Supreme Court where he lost.
This time his party officials have said court is not an option.
“We wish to assure the people that we have the will, the determination, and the means to make sure your vote will count,” said Johnson Muthama, of the National Super Alliance.
“If he tells us to go on the streets, we will go on the streets. If he wants us to stay home, we will stay home,” said 25-year-old supporter Humpfrey Songole.
“These are people killed in the confrontations with officers since Friday night,” said a regional police officer.