Opposition warns of violence if “forced election” held

NAIROBI – Kenya’s opposition rejected the nation’s election re-run as “a sham” and said on Friday that plans to reorganise voting in its western strongholds where polls did not open risked provoking further violence and should be cancelled.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has won over 96 percent of votes counted so far, according to a local media tally of numbers released, but his second term mandate is weak with turnout below 35 percent and a vote undermined by clashes.

Pockets of violence continued on Friday, with police saying they shot dead one man, bringing to five the number of confirmed dead since voting began on Thursday. All were killed in the west of the country, which supports the opposition.

 The vote has exposed Kenya’s deep political and ethnic divisions as violence flared and court cases drag on. It is being closely watched as Kenya is a regional trade and logistics hub and powerful security ally for Western nations.

Musalia Mudavadi, a senior opposition leader, accused authorities of “ethnic profiling” and having “militarised elections” as they beef up security ahead of a plan to hold voting in Homa Bay, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya on Saturday.

“In the event that (the election commission) refuses to listen to wisdom and instead goes on with this meaningless forced poll, we advise the people not to walk into this trap of death,” he told reporters on Friday.

“We call on the residents of these counties to stay away from these planned polls,” he added.