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Kenya’s Opposition Leader Calls for People to Continue Election Protest


A motorcyclist drives through obstacles placed on a street by supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga during the latest protests in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya, August 14, 2017.

Kenya’s opposition leader called on people to stay home Monday to protest the results of last week's election. Some have heeded the call, but many others returned to work, despite uncertainty about what the opposition will do next.

After a week of mostly empty streets, Kenya’s capital city is coming back to normal. Traffic is flowing, and people are going back to work.

A man pulling a cart passes next to a bus vandalized during the latest protests in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya, August 14, 2017.
A man pulling a cart passes next to a bus vandalized during the latest protests in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya, August 14, 2017.

That does not mean the dispute over the August 8th presidential election is over. The opposition says the election was rigged and has refused to concede defeat after incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner with 54 percent of the vote.

The announcement of the presidential results was followed by a protest in some parts of Nairobi and western regions that are strongholds of Kenyatta's main challenger, opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Slum areas in Nairobi like Mathare have witnessed much of the violence.

A supporter of opposition leader Raila Odinga runs past a burned shack, in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 12, 2017.
A supporter of opposition leader Raila Odinga runs past a burned shack, in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 12, 2017.

Some youth gather in groups to discuss the election and the future of the opposition.

Odinga visited the neighborhood on Sunday and called on his supporters to stay away from work in protest.

Kenyan Opposition: ‘They want to steal our victory and again they come to kill our people’

Thirty-five-year old John Mark has refused to open his welding business.

“I want to know what he will tell us tomorrow, if Raila tells me to open my business I will do so, but also I would like him to tell me where my vote is and what he intends to do,” he said.

Tense situation

Unlike Mark, Steven Odhiambo has opened his food kiosk in Mathare.

He says business has not been good since Uhuru was announced [the] winner and his customers are afraid to come. He adds there are those who come in, but will run again because of continuing battles between the police and demonstrators, and if they go out they are beaten by police.

The opposition says more than 100 protesters have been killed by the police across the country since the election. The security agencies have denied the accusations, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people had been killed.

President-elect Kenyatta said the election is over and the majority of Kenyans have returned to work. He called for his opponents to accept the outcome and for the aggrieved to pursue their cases in legal ways.

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