Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga was weighing his next move Monday to contest an election he claims was rigged after defying pressure at home and from abroad to take his complaints to the courts.
The 72-year-old insists he was the rightful winner of a “stolen” election last week and has urged his supporters to stay away from work Monday to mourn the deaths of those killed in angry protests against the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
However, after nearly a week in limbo in which businesses remained shut and workers stayed home, Nairobi largely came back to life on Monday with many unable to afford any more time away from their livelihoods.
Fruit vendor Alex Kilonzo returned to his stand on a busy street corner, even though many nearby had not reopened. “If I had money I could strike,” he told AFP.
“Life has to move on,” said IT worker Kenneth Kiruja as he headed into the office for the first time since Tuesday’s election, adding the opposition should take their grievances to court.
Odinga, a veteran opposition leader in Kenya, lost his fourth shot at the presidency, according to official results, and has repeated claims he made in 2007 and 2013 that the vote was rigged against him..
His loss sparked angry protests on Friday night and Saturday in his strongholds in the west of the country and in Nairobi slums, leaving 16 people dead according to an AFP tally. This includes a nine-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet. Police have denied that innocent protesters have been killed, saying those shot dead had been armed and attacked officers, many while carrying out criminal acts such as rape and looting. The dispute has plunged Kenya into its worst political crisis since Odinga lost a 2007 election that many observers agreed was riddled with irregularities.
That election exposed decades-old political and ethnic grievances over access to power and land that sparked two months of violence in which 1,100 were killed and 600,000 displaced.—AFP