Report from Nairobi – The Kenyan police clashed against opposing protesters. Violence erupted, and there were tear gas firing, stone throwing, burning and barricades which prevented voting in some of the towns after the commencement of the Presidential election re-run.
The result from the previous election showed that opposition leader Raila Odinga got about 45% of the vote while Kenyatta had 54% of the vote and was declared the winner, but it was later annulled because of some election malpractices and irregularities discovered by the Supreme court.
The violent protesters set blockages and fires on roads in the western city of Kenya. The stone-throwing youths, after heeding to the main opposition leader Odinga’s request to boycott the vote were combated in live rounds of tear gas cannon from the police.
Speaking to reporters, one of the opposition supporters in Kisumu, Olga Onyanga said they were not ready to vote and would not allow any form of voting to take place.
However, while there was no voting in Kisumu, it was ongoing in towns where Kenyatta had supporters. Voters were set before dawn at one of the polling stations in Gatundu, but due to fear, only a few voters turned up for the exercise compared to the previous election in August.
Will the new vote be credible?
The opposition protesters questioned the credibility of the expected victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga argued that the re-election won’t be credible because of the illegal electoral process. He also pointed accusing fingers at Kenyatta for trying to move a stabilized country to an authoritarian one.
Last week, the head of the electoral commission citing the life threats against his colleagues and intrusion of politicians in the electoral process said there is no way he could guarantee a free and fair presidential election. He mentioned that one of the election officials had fled the country due to the series of violent threat.
Simon Wambirio, a resident in Gatundu, said that they could only hope that the leader who emerges as the victor will unite the country which has been destroyed by modern politics and politicians.
Tête-à-têtes among observers revealed that the country’s politics had become a game of ethnicity rather than democracy.