Kenyatta victory sparks clashes | News | DW | 31.03.2013
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Kenyatta victory sparks clashes

Kenyan officials have deployed police to tamp down any signs of unrest. The move followed clashes that erupted after the Supreme Court ruled Uhuru Kenyatta's win in the presidential vote fair.

Security forces in the port city of Kisumu encountered small pockets of protesters on Sunday who were still angry about the Supreme Court's decision regarding the outcome of the country's most recent presidential elections. Candidate Raila Odinga, who hails from Kisumu, officially lost the election to president elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, the country's top justices announced the day before.

The city remained mostly calm on Easter Sunday, but a few outbursts in local districts had raised concerns that violence could erupt again, according to the police chief for Nyanza province, where Kisumu is located.

"There was chaos in places where people were throwing stones. Now we have officers monitoring the general situation," police chief Ole Metito said.

Despite Odinga's public acceptance of the court ruling on Saturday, his supporters rioted in the city streets. Two young men participating in the violent protests were fatally shot and at least five people were injured.

Officials in Kenya had been worried that tribal clashes resembling those after the last election could disrupt the relative calm across the country. In 2007, more than 1,200 people died in the post-election violence.

Kenyatta win official

Contender Odinga filed a challenge against the March 4 results, alleging that vote manipulation, problems with registering voters and technical problems of the electronic vote counting system had marred the outcome.

Kenyatta won a narrow margin of 50.07 percent, barely garnering the needed 50 percent out of 12.3 million votes cast.

The six-member court ruled unanimously Saturday that the polls had been "free, fair, transparent and credible," despite findings of a court report that had pointed to peculiarities in the partial recounting of votes at five out of 22 polling stations.

"The court has now spoken," Odinga said in reaction to the verdict. "I wish the president-elect, honorable Uhuru Kenyatta, and his team well."

The newly elected president addressed the worry felt by people across Kenya.

"I want to assure Kenyans that our government will be as inclusive as possible and will reflect the face of our great country," he said during a televised address.

Kenyatta continues to face charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over allegations that he helped incite the post-election violence in 2007.

kms/hc (AFP, AP, Reuters)