Celebrations by his supporters and protests by opposition’s strong hold have begun to surface, following the announcement of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the just concluded Kenya elections.
Speaking after the result was announced, the President Elect, who also happens to be the incumbent president, offered an olive branch to the opposition, urging national unity and peace with rivals who have rejected the result and raised the prospect of street protests.
“Let us be peaceful, let us share together,” he said. “Reach out to your neighbour, shake their hand. Say this election is over, let us move on.”
According to election commission figures, nearly 80% of the 19 million registered voters elected their preferred candidates to which Kenyatta got 54.3% of the total vote, ahead of Raila Odinga who secured 44.7%.
However, there were also protests in Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold in the west, youths banged drums and tyres burned in the streets in the Kondele district. Police fired tear gas and gunshots were heard in the Nairobi slums of Mathare and Kawangware, where young men took to the streets as police helicopters buzzed overhead.
In Nairobi, a young girl was shot dead by police firing sporadically at protesters in Mathare. The run-down neighborhood is loyal to opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose party has rejected the results of Tuesday’s vote as a charade.
Many Kenyans fear a repeat of the post-election violence that followed the 2007 disputed election in which about 1,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced as protests over the result led to ethnic killings.