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Kenya tensions spike as opposition cries foul over vote result

Kenyatta (left) and Odinga

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |  Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared headed for re-election Wednesday but his rival Raila Odinga claimed a massive hacking attack had manipulated results, ratcheting up tensions in opposition strongholds.

Police fired tear gas to disperse a few hundred protesters in Kisumu in western Kenya as well as in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, with Odinga’s supporters setting up burning barricades and blocking roads with debris in both spots, AFP reporters said.

With votes from 95 percent of polling stations counted, electoral commission (IEBC) results showed Kenyatta leading with 54 percent of the over 14 million ballots tallied against Odinga’s 44.7 percent.

“These results are fake, it is a sham. They cannot be credible,” Odinga told a press conference in the early hours of Wednesday as partial results streamed onto a public website via an electronic tallying system aimed at preventing fraud.

The IEBC said the results could not be considered official until they were verified by original documents from polling stations.

Odinga’s accusations, and the reaction of his supporters, again raised the spectre of electoral violence in Kenya, still traumatised by the memory of bloody post-poll clashes a decade ago which left 1,100 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

Odinga detailed accusations of a massive hacking attack on the electronic system, saying hackers had gained entry to the system using the identity of top IT official Chris Msando, who was found murdered and tortured late last month.

“This is an attack on our democracy. The 2017 general election was a fraud,” said Odinga, claiming detailed evidence of the hacker’s movements. He would not say how he got the information, as he wanted to “protect his source”.

The 72-year-old, who is making his fourth bid for the presidency as the flagbearer for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, accused his rivals of stealing victory from him through rigging in 2007 and in 2013.

“You can only cheat a people for so long,” he said.

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