Kenyan President Wins Re-Election But The Opposition Still Has Doubts

17 hours ago
Originally published on August 12, 2017 2:24 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is headed to a second term. But that declaration by the country's elections board has brought forth celebration and conflict. A human rights group says that as many as 24 people have been killed since Tuesday's election. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Even before the declaration, some residents of Kibera, Nairobi's largest slum, are ready for a fight. They break up rocks and test their slingshots to fight against an election the opposition party says was rigged.

AYU OCHIEN AGOT: We're taking up some as a revolution in the republic of Kenya.

PERALTA: That's Ayu Ochien Agot. He says this is the last time they're going to let Kenya's two ruling tribes steal an election from them. And he's ready to fight for his tribe to have its own country. Across town, though, the elections board tallies its results and finds Kenyatta wins by more than a million votes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I wish to declare honorable Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect.

(APPLAUSE)

PERALTA: Knowing full well that election violence has ripped this country apart in the past, Kenyatta offers a conciliatory speech urging Kenyans to break bread, to tell each other...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA: Regardless of whom you voted for, you are still my neighbor. You are still my brother. You are still my sister.

PERALTA: In Kibera, there is a stark divide. Police create a line between people celebrating Kenyatta's victory and those protesting it. Jamila Waithera says she's happy that police are using force because it avoids the kinds of clashes that killed more than a thousand Kenyans in 2007.

JAMILA WAITHERA: They are our people. We love them. But they have to learn through their mistakes.

PERALTA: Suddenly, more armored vehicles cross in front of us.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLICE SIREN)

PERALTA: By the time I catch up, security forces have pushed all protesters deep into the slum.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)

PERALTA: It sounds like small arms fire. And I see people running as a plume of tear gas rises in the distance.

Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Nairobi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.