Kenyans Wait For Resolution Nearly 2 Weeks After Elections
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
These are tense times right now in Kenya, where almost two weeks after a presidential election, some people are still looking for a resolution. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga has claimed an elaborate rigging scheme. And he is challenging results in the Supreme Court, even as citizens are still coming to terms with the violence that followed the declaration that the president had won re-election. Here's more from NPR's Eyder Peralta.
EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Almost immediately, when incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is announced the winner, opposition supporters in Kibera, one of Nairobi's biggest slums, take to the streets.
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PERALTA: There is too much gunfire to get close. So all I see is demonstrators running across the street in front of me and security forces unloading their weapons.
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PERALTA: It's not until the sun rises that I can move past police lines to find out what happened. Rafael Indieka says that men battled police all night. The demonstrators had rocks. And he saw police shoot two men.
RAFAEL INDIEKA: Right now a lot of tear gas is there. And guys are just running up and down. Even people - some of the people are dead now.
PERALTA: And just as we talked, the guys around me hear a pop, and we run. We end up behind the walls of a private compound. The guards there take me almost immediately to meet 19-year-old Brian Otieno. They let him inside because he was hurt. Police, he says, beat him up on his way to work.
BRIAN OTIENO: There were more than three. There were beating me only. They founded me only on the road.
PERALTA: His head is swollen, blood dripping down his temples. He has a deep gash in his right hand. He's a painter, he says. And he's worried his working hand is damaged.
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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) No Raila, no peace. No Raila, no peace.
PERALTA: It doesn't take long before the men start moving toward police again. And it doesn't take long before it turns into a firefight.
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JEDIDAH WARUHIU: No life, not a single life should be lost in the name of election.
PERALTA: Jedidah Waruhiu of the government's human rights commission says that was the promise police had made. Kenya was intent on not reliving the past when elections have left hundreds of people dead. But Waruhiu's commission found that in one day of violence, about 24 Kenyans were killed by police.
WARUHIU: For me, it tells me that the culture of violence that we continue to met out on each other is not a good cause. And it's not sustainable. It's a recipe for disaster.
PERALTA: At first, police denied they had killed anyone. But a few days later, President Kenyatta came on television to call for police to exercise restraint. That same day, police do move out of Mathare, another one of Nairobi's huge slums. And it allows for opposition supporters to stone their neighbors' houses. It leaves Fahtuma Abdi breathless, waiting for police to protect her property.
FAHTUMA ABDI: How do they know we elected Raila? We supported Raila or Uhuru? So president Uhuru, you should bring peace to Mathare Area 3.
PERALTA: But just a few blocks away, I'm guided to an apartment building, up some stairs and onto a balcony where 10-year-old Stephanie Moraa was killed by a bullet. Her mother is still holding on to her bloodied dress. Her aunt, Lucy Marube, is clutching a picture. It shows Stephanie in a green dress looking sassy with pink shades.
LUCY MARUBE: (Speaking Swahili).
PERALTA: Stephanie was a fourth grader, a jovial kid, she says, who had no reason to die at the hands of police.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing in Swahili).
PERALTA: Across town, in Kibera, Jane Anyango calls a meeting of women. She was stuck in her house for two days, she says, her 13-year-old boy choking on tear gas.
JANE ANYAGO: It is not a joke. It is not a joke when you can't protect your children in your home. It is not a joke when you see your people being killed like animals. It is not.
PERALTA: She says she fears what's to come after the Supreme Court hands down its verdict in the next two weeks. But what she fears the most is not being able to teach her son to love his country. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Nairobi.
(AVISHAI COHEN AND LIONEL LOUEKE'S "AFTERTHOUGHTS (MOZARTINE)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.