A day after protests and riots erupted in the wake of Kenya’s contested election, the country’s commission on human rights said that at least 24 people, including a 6-year-old child, had been killed during clashes with police in the worst political violence in the country in a decade.
As many sought to avoid the kind of violence that followed elections a decade ago, Kagwiria Mbogori, chairman of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, told the Washington Post that “there has been excessive use of force and misuse of firearms by security personnel dealing with members of the public who are exercising their right to peaceful assembly in accordance with our constitution.” Government officials rejected reports of police shootings, while observers and reporters posted images and claims of police aggression on Twitter.
— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) August 12, 2017
On Saturday, after months of political campaigning riddled with “fake news” on all sides, one senior official warned social media users that police will arrest those sharing information deemed inflammatory. According to Deutsche Welle, several people have already been detained.
The election has been called historic in many positive ways, but it has also been marred by a number of controversies, including the murder of a key election official last month, the recent deportation of a U.S. polling firm that had been working for the opposition party, and the involvement of the Trump campaign’s data firm, Cambridge Analytica, in the winning campaign.
Official results said incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta was elected to a second five-year term with 54.2 percent of the vote to Raila Odinga’s 44.7 percent. But Odinga alleged a cover-up, saying the vote data had been manipulated by a hacker using credentials from the murdered election official. He hasn’t yet produced sufficient evidence to back up those claims.
International observers in the country for the vote, including John Kerry, have called the process credible and urged the opposition to seek legal remedies to their complaints. Kerry assured voters on Thursday, “if anything was electronically fiddled with, there is a way to go back and absolutely ascertain what happened in the polling station.”