Kenyan opposition supporters clashed with police and threw up burning barricades on Thursday to challenge the legitimacy of an election rerun likely to return Uhuru Kenyatta as president of East Africa’s chief economic and political powerhouse. In the western city of Kisumu, stone-throwing youths heeding opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for a voter boycott were met by live rounds, tear gas and water cannon. There were no immediate reports of casualties and Reuters found no polling stations open. In Kibera and Mathare, two volatile Nairobi slums, riot police patrolled. Protesters set fires in Kibera early in the morning. Nearly 50 people have been killed by security forces since the original August vote that Kenyatta won but which was annulled by the Supreme Court due to procedural irregularities.
The election is being closely watched across East Africa, which relies on Kenya as a trade and logistics hub, and in the West, which considers Nairobi a bulwark against Islamist militancy in Somalia and civil conflict in South Sudan and Burundi.
While tensions simmered in some opposition strongholds, in other areas the situation was calm.
Interior minister Fred Matiang‘i told Citizen TV that polling stations opened in over 90 percent of the country, including Kiambu, where Kenyatta cast his ballot.
Full Article: Shooting, tear gas, bonfires mar Kenya election re-run.