Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Wednesday mass protests were possible if August elections were rigged, comments likely to scare Kenyans fearful of a repeat of the widespread violence that erupted after a disputed poll in 2007. Then, more than 1,200 people were killed in weeks of fighting after political protests turned into ethnic clashes, but 2013 polls, when Odinga accepted the result after a court ruling, passed relatively peacefully. “This country is not ready for another rigged election. Kenyans will not accept it,” Odinga said, noting that multiple people had been registered to vote with the same identity card in a registration period that has just ended.
The national election commission accepts that some of his criticisms are justified and has identified 78,000 duplicate registrations. Spokesman Andrew Limo said the commission was resolving the issue. “We are confident we will have a credible and convincing register by May 10 to start verification,” he said.
The government said that Odinga was simply trying to discredit the voting process early to lay the ground for challenging the results on the streets. “The opposition is trying to create a narrative so eventually they have a way of rejecting the elections,” government spokesman Munyori Buku said. “They never accept the result.”