Kenya Rerun: One Dead As Fresh Protests Erupt

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One person was shot dead as fresh protests hit western Kenya on Friday, a day after a deeply-divisive presidential rerun which was marred by low voter turnout and violence, taking the death toll to six.

 

The latest bloodshed occurred as angry opposition supporters took to streets in several western towns to protest plans by the IEBC election board to stage a poll on Saturday in four areas where voting had been blocked by election day unrest.

 

The region is a hotbed of support for opposition leader Raila Odinga, who boycotted Thursday’s vote in a move that has all but assured his rival President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide victory.

 

But as polling officials carefully counted the ballots, difficult questions remained over the credibility of an election boycotted by a large part of the 19 million registered voters, with initial turnout figures suggesting only a third of registered voters turned up.

 

The country’s second presidential election in three months has sharply divided east Africa’s flagship democracy, and the result may spark further legal battles.

 

By Friday morning, angry protesters had taken to the streets, blocking roads in the western towns of Homa Bay, Migori and Bungoma, where one man was shot dead during a confrontation with police.

 

“People were running away from police and that is when they started shooting and he fell down and started bleeding heavily,” witness Maurice Wafula told AFP.

 

“We are not voting and it is our right to demonstrate, they should not kill us.”

 

But police denied the account, claiming he was one of a group of youths who cornered an officer and tried to grab his gun. “That’s when he was unfortunately shot dead,” said local police chief Moses Nyakwama.

 

Earlier, there were also chaotic scenes in Migori where police were engaged in running battles with youths, a correspondent said.

 

At least four people were killed during Thursday’s vote and around 50 others wounded, most of them by live bullets, according to an AFP tally of figures from officials and medics. Another who was injured in Homa Bay succumbed to his injuries on Friday morning, medics said, raising the toll to six.

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