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Uhuru Kenyatta Declared Winner Of Contentious Kenyan Presidential Election

Aug 11, 2017
Originally published on August 11, 2017 8:23 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Kenya, it's official. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected. In his victory speech, Kenyatta called for unity with his challenger, Raila Odinga. But Odinga has been calling the vote rigged, and his supporters are angry. Earlier I spoke with NPR's Eyder Peralta. He described a tense scene in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: You know, I just walked from a place where there was celebration because of President Uhuru Kenyatta's win. And we walked to the part that is not very happy about President Uhuru Kenyatta's win. And the police have fired tear gas. And we can't see what's going on, but we can hear gunfire. And there's a helicopter flying overhead and, you know, tear gas is just - we can see the plumes of it just rising from the distance.

CORNISH: So given this anger, how has Odinga responded to President Kenyatta's call for unity?

PERALTA: So Raila Odinga has not spoken, but his campaign people did earlier. They said that they will not take this issue to court and they will allow the Kenyan people to settle it. And that's a very ominous thing to say in this country because in 2007, more than a thousand Kenyans were killed during post-election violence.

CORNISH: What, if anything, are you hearing from Odinga's supporters then? How would they like him to handle this disputed election?

PERALTA: Odinga's supporters are saying they're ready to fight. They're calling this a revolution. And they say that this is the last time that they allow an election to be stolen from them. On the other side, Uhuru Kenyatta's supporters say that the country needs to come together and that Raila's supporters need to accept their loss.

CORNISH: But President Kenyatta won with more than a million votes. I know Odinga has been saying that the vote is rigged. But do those numbers mean anything?

PERALTA: Well, there - it's a huge number. None of the polls predicted that. And it's important to say that international observers have overwhelmingly said this was a free and fair election. But that is not what Raila Odinga is saying. Raila Odinga says there was a big conspiracy to have this election stolen from him.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Eyder Peralta in Nairobi. Eyder, stay safe.

PERALTA: Yep, I will. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.