Kenyan president is declared winner of troubled election

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta holds the certificate of President-Elect of the Republic of Kenya after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Kenyan president is declared winner of troubled election

NAIROBI, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday was declared the overwhelming winner of a rerun election boycotted by Kenya’s main opposition leader, collecting 98 percent of the vote but also exposing the divisions roiling this East African country.
While Kenyatta’s backers celebrated his re-election, angry supporters of his rival, Raila Odinga, skirmished with police in Nairobi slums and burned tires in Kisumu, one of the opposition strongholds in western Kenya.
Kenya’s election commission said the turnout of registered voters in the Oct. 26 election was about 40 percent, compared with roughly twice that in August balloting that was nullified by the Supreme Court because of what it called “irregularities and illegalities.”
The rerun was marred by deadly clashes between police and Odinga supporters in the days that followed.
Kenyatta said he expected Odinga followers to mount new legal challenges, indicating the long saga that has left many Kenyans weary of conflict and has hurt business in East Africa’s economic hub is not over.
“My victory today was just part of a process that is likely to once again be subjected to a constitutional test through our courts,” Kenyatta said at the election commission headquarters after results were announced that gave him a second term. “I will submit to this constitutional path.”
Kenyatta said he would consider dialogue with the opposition after the outcome of any court proceedings. He also described his victory as a validation of his win in August, saying the 7.5 million votes that he received this time amounted to 90 percent of what he got earlier.
Odinga, who dismissed the repeat election as a sham and told his supporters not to participate, remained on the ballot and still got 73,000 votes, or just under 1 percent. In August, he received 45 percent to Kenyatta’s 54 percent.
At least nine people have died in violence since the rerun election. Some were shot by police; several died in fighting between Kenya’s different ethnic groups, highlighting the loyalties that drive Kenyan politics. Mobs have also looted shops and burned property in some areas.
Late Monday, crowds in the Nairobi slums of Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware — areas where Odinga has strong support — confronted police, set fires and blocked roads. Security forces used tear gas.
Tires were set ablaze in the western town of Kisumu.
“It was not an election that involved everyone,” said Peter Musundi, a Kawangware resident. He called the vote as a “nomination exercise” for the ruling Jubilee party.
Some Kenyatta backers celebrated his victory with song and dance.
“We wait for Kenya to move forward,” said supporter Ann Njoki, speaking near the election commission headquarters.
Voting did not take place in two dozen of Kenya’s 290 constituencies due to opposition protests, although the election commission cited an election law that says final results can be announced if the outcome is not affected by the tally in areas that didn’t vote.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the election commission, said before the Oct. 26 vote that he could not guarantee its credibility. Before announcing the results, however, he said he was confident it was a “free, fair and credible election.”
Odinga has said he will form a “resistance” movement to oppose the government, which has in turn accused opposition leaders of fomenting violence with incendiary rhetoric. He also said he wants another election to be held.
Odinga, who is from the Luo ethnic group, and Kenyatta, who is a Kikuyu, also faced off in a 2013 election similarly marred by allegations of vote-rigging. The opposition leader also ran unsuccessfully in 2007, and ethnic-fueled animosity after that vote killed more than 1,000 people and forced 600,000 from their homes.
Most of Kenya has been peaceful during the political standoff that has transfixed the nation since the August election; human rights groups say dozens of people were killed by police in unrest following the earlier vote.
US Ambassador Robert F. Godec said Washington is deeply concerned by the recent violence and urged Kenyans to engage in dialogue “to resolve the deep divisions that the electoral process has exacerbated.”
Amnesty International alleged that police used “unlawful force” against opposition supporters and bystanders after the rerun election. The human rights group cited cases of “police brutality” as well as violence and intimidation by backers of both candidates.
In his victory speech, Kenyatta appealed for unity. Standing at a podium, he drew laughter with a reference to his speech after his August election win.
“I’ve been here before,” he said. “Hopefully, this is for the last time.”


Duterte asks why critical ex-police officer ‘is still alive’

Updated 17 min 52 sec ago
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Duterte asks why critical ex-police officer ‘is still alive’

  • More than 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in what police say were gunbattles that ensued during drug raids under Duterte’s crackdown, alarming Western governments and human rights groups
MANILA, Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused a dismissed police colonel, who had publicly criticized him and his deadly anti-drug campaign, of criminal involvement and said he wanted to know why the former officer “is still alive.”
In a late-night televised speech, Duterte condemned dismissed Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, who told reporters over the weekend that the president had been repeatedly photographed with two Chinese men involved in drug trafficking.
Duterte defended one of the two Chinese men, saying he had accompanied China’s premier on a visit to the Philippines and was a businessman who traveled to the country in 1999 to sell Chinese-made cellphones.
Acierto, a veteran anti-narcotics officer before his dismissal by an anti-graft agency last year, said he submitted a report to top police officials and Duterte’s office about the two Chinese to warn the president of their background. But he said he was never informed if the two were ever investigated.
“In my investigation, I discovered that our president ... is often accompanied by two people deeply involved in illegal drugs,” Acierto told a news conference late Sunday in Manila, adding that he was later accused by authorities in a criminal complaint of involvement in drug smuggling instead of the Chinese men.
Duterte said Acierto was the only police official who has made the allegations against the two men. He said Acierto was an “idiot” allegedly involved in corruption, drug smuggling, kidnappings of Chinese nationals and the killing of a South Korean man.
“Don’t ever believe specially this Acierto,” Duterte said in a speech in southern Koronadal city. “What if I ask the military and the police, ‘Why is this son of a bitch still alive?“
Acierto denied any wrongdoing.
The president mentioned Acierto while talking about his efforts to combat corruption, including corrupt policemen. He also criticized and ridiculed opposition senatorial candidates running in mid-term elections in May.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino told The Associated Press on Monday that he received Acierto’s report and sent it to Duterte’s office, adding that both his office and that of the president took steps to validate the allegations against the two Chinese. He said the two were not on any list of drug suspects.
Aquino played down the photographs showing Duterte with the two Chinese men, saying officials often get approached by all sorts of people for group photographs without being able to rapidly check their background. He questioned the credibility of Acierto, who he accused of being linked to drug smuggling.
Profiles of the two Chinese provided by Acierto to reporters said they were involved in the “manufacturing, financing, the importation, transhipment and local distribution of meth or shabu,” referring to the local name for methamphetamine, a stimulant.
Acierto said he initially welcomed Duterte’s passion to combat illegal drugs. But he said he later realized that the president’s deadly crackdown took a wrong approach by targeting mostly poor drug suspects instead of going after powerful drug lords and traffickers.
More than 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in what police say were gunbattles that ensued during drug raids under Duterte’s crackdown, alarming Western governments and human rights groups.