Amid Opposition Boycott, Kenyans Vote In Re-Run Of Presidential Election : The Two-Way President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second term, but the main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has told his supporters not to cast ballots.

Amid Opposition Boycott, Kenyans Vote In Re-Run Of Presidential Election

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/560147713/560152318" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Going to turn now to Kenya, where it is election day, and already, we are seeing a lot of violence. At least two people are dead, and dozens have been injured. Four counties have now delayed voting until Saturday. Now, there were results of a presidential election back in August that were contested. This is a now redo, but the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, has urged Kenyans to stay away. There are protests that have erupted around the country, including - as you might actually hear - some gunfire. We're going now to one polling place in Nairobi. NPR's Eyder Peralta is there, and he has been following this tense situation. Eyder, tell us what you're seeing.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Hey, David. Yeah, I'm in Kibera, which is an opposition stronghold here in Nairobi. And right now I'm seeing a standoff between police and protesters. You can probably hear some gunfire in the background. And there's lots of tear gas. And basically, protesters are trying to get into this polling station, and police are trying to stop them from getting in.

GREENE: Well, can you just remind us - I mean, Odinga lost the first election officially. He's the one who contested the results. He's now saying this new election is a charade. So is this is his answer - this violence?

PERALTA: Yesterday, he announced that his party was becoming a resistance movement. He actually told people to stay home. But obviously, that's not what's happening. I think, you know, what Raila Odinga has tapped into is a feeling of oppression in this country. And that's what you hear from the protesters that they think that this government has stolen elections before and that they're going to do it again.

GREENE: Can you just tell us more of what you're seeing. I mean, these are his protesters who are standing in a standoff with police. I mean, is anyone actually being able to get in there and vote?

PERALTA: Not here. I mean, you know, there are - there is voting going on in a lot of parts of Kenya. But in big opposition strongholds, no one is voting. In this polling station, you know, I talked to one woman who tried to get here, but she couldn't. There's people - you know, the ballot material is being brought in by police - under police escort. And people - the poll workers are covering their faces because they're afraid that when this is over, people will take revenge.

GREENE: This is a country that has seen bitter politics and violence. This election is bitterly dividing the country. I mean, how does this end?

PERALTA: I don't think anyone knows the answer to that question. You know, there's a lot - a lot of this is about tribe. And also, you know, one of the saddest things that happened during this election season is that two pillars of democracy - two big institutions have lost a huge amount of credibility in this country. And I don't think anyone knows how that - those institutions are rebuilt.

GREENE: And what are you seeing now? How are police handling this? I mean, are we going to see arrests of the opposition or what's going to happen?

PERALTA: There has already been arrests across the country from people who have been charged with incitement. But, you know, what I'm seeing here - what I'm seeing here is basically a battle between police and protesters. Protesters, you know, try and make it into the polling place. And police fire at them - tear gas and then gunfire. We don't know if it's live rounds or blanks. But it's just - you know, it's ongoing.

GREENE: Eyder be safe. And we appreciate you taking the time but please be safe.

PERALTA: Thank you, David.

GREENE: That's NPR's Eyder Peralta on election day in Nairobi, Kenya.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.