Kenya court upholds election of Kenyatta
AFP | 2013-4-1 0:13:01
By Agencies
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Raila Odinga, outgoing Kenyan prime minister, wipes his eyes as he addresses the media at a press conference at his office in Nairobi on Saturday. Photo: AFP
Raila Odinga, outgoing Kenyan prime minister, wipes his eyes as he addresses the media at a press conference at his office in Nairobi on Saturday. Photo: AFP


Kenyan police maintained tight security on Sunday as calm returned after a court ruling upholding Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential election win sparked anger among his rival's supporters, leading to riots that left two people dead.

Outgoing prime minister Raila Odinga had challenged the result of the March 4 poll hoping for a rerun, but while he begrudgingly accepted the Supreme Court's decision on Saturday, youths in his strongholds were enraged.

Riots broke out immediately after the ruling, leaving two dead in the city of Kisumu, said Joseph Ole Tito, police chief for the western Nyanza region.

Sporadic clashes were also reported in Nairobi's Mathare slum on Sunday morning with police firing tear gas at youths who had pelted them with stones.

But calm had been restored by early afternoon as security forces maintained a strong presence in and around Mathare, home to many of Odinga's supporters.

Calm had also returned to western Kenya, another Odinga bastion, although many shops in the main city of Kisumu remained boarded up after Saturday's looting.

Emmanuel Owako, a local Red Cross coordinator said a total of 24 people in the western region had been admitted to hospital with injuries after the rioting and about 15 of them had gunshot wounds. The vast majority had been discharged by Sunday.

There were few cars on the roads with residents preferring to walk to and from church on Sunday after several vehicles were damaged Saturday by stone-throwing youths.

"In Kisumu the situation has been contained and business is resuming to normal," Kenya's police chief David Kimaiyo told AFP.

"We have an adequate number of police officers in all parts of the country including in those troubled areas," he said.

The gunshots that had rung out sporadically for much of Saturday evening in Kisumu died down around midnight, residents said.

There were no reports of casualties in Nairobi where Odinga supporters had lit bonfires and tried to block roads in some slum areas on Saturday.

The six judges of Kenya's top court dashed Odinga's last hopes of victory by unanimously ruling that the March 4 election had been fair and credible and that Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto had been "validly elected."

The ruling paves the way for Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president and one of Africa's richest men, to be sworn in as head of state on April 9.

Odinga, who argued that the ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities, said he accepted the court's ruling and wished his rival well.

"The court has now spoken," Odinga said, adding that while he might not agree with all its decisions his faith in the constitution "remains supreme."


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