A bitterly divisive presidential election in Kenya descended into chaos on Wednesday after the opposition leader claimed that a government-sanctioned hacking attack had subverted the results to rob him of victory.
Police shot dead three protesters as violent clashes in the capital and elsewhere raised fears that the country could again be pitched into electoral violence after Raila Odinga accused Uhuru Kenyatta, the president, of resorting to “massive” fraud to secure re-election.
Mr Kenyatta, seeking a second and final five-year term, was on course for a convincing victory.
With nearly all the votes tallied, the president had secured 54.3 per cent of the vote against Mr Odinga’s 44.8, according to provisional results released by the electoral commission – a much wider margin of victory than opinion polls had suggested.
Although the election appeared to have been the best-run in decades, Mr Odinga was quick to reject the result, claiming there had been a reprise of the rigging that probably cost him victory ten years ago.
“The electoral fraud and fabrication of results was massive,” he said. “It has always been common knowledge that Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime was a fraud. This takes Mr Kenyatta and [deputy president] William Ruto’s fraud … to another level.”
As groups of Mr Odinga’s supporters gathered in the slums of the capital Nairobi and in his strongholds in western Kenya, some feared a return to the bloodshed that killed 1,300 people and forced 600,000 more following his defeat in 2007.
Opposition supporters in Nairobi’s slums said they were awaiting an official declaration and further instructions from their candidate before taking action.
Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Odinga’s running mate, called on supporters to remain calm but he ominously hinted at the possibility of taking to the streets if the result was not overturned.
“There may come a time we may have to call you to action,” he said.
Fury over the result was palpable in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, one of Mr Odinga’s strongest bastions in the capital, where many said they were willing to face death if President Kenyatta’s victory was allowed to stand.
“We are running out of patience,” said Jane Aoko, a teacher who had joined a growing gaggle of increasingly angry people gathered around a radio on one of the slum’s fetid alleys.
“If you want peace you cannot keep making people angry. There can be no peace without justice.”
The tension in Kibera was mirrored in other city slums inhabited by tribes supporting Mr Odinga’s coalition, which largely represents ethnic groups that have never held power.
Since independence from Britain in 1963, the presidency has always been held by either the Kikuyu or the Kalenjin, the two tribes that dominate Mr Kenyatta’s ruling party.
Many in Kibera spoke of deep-held resentments caused by half a century of perceived disenfranchisement, with some saying that only an uprising would redress a system seen as designed to enrich two tribes at the expense of the other 40.
“We have been oppressed so much,” said Ayub Agutu, a Luo designer. “We are going to do a revolution once and for all to remove Uhuru Kenyatta.”
But the president’s fellow Kikuyus were angry that Mr Odinga, blamed by them for unleashing the bloodshed ten years ago, again appeared to be harnessing the street to challenge the outcome of the vote. Agency report