Results of Kenya’s presidential election re-run started to trickle in on Friday, with early estimates of the turnout at below 35 percent, dealing a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s hopes for a decisive second-term mandate.
There were also reports of violence leading to the loss of at least one life during the election.
According to a Reuters report, in the western city of Kisumu, police used tear gas and fired live rounds over the heads of stone-throwing youths. Gunfire killed one protester and wounded three, a nurse said.
In Homa Bay county next door, police said they shot dead one protester and injured another.
There were similar scenes in Kibera and Mathare, two volatile Nairobi slums. At least one person was shot in the leg, a Red Cross official said, and a church was fire-bombed.
With nearly all followers of opposition leader Raila Odinga heeding the veteran’s call for a boycott, Kenyatta’s victory is not in question.
Less clear is his ability to unite the east African nation, whose deep ethnic divisions have been exposed during the bloody and controversial election process and multiple court cases in the past three months.
The first election, in August, was annulled by the courts because of procedural irregularities, denying Kenyatta a simple victory over his long-term political rival.
Voting on Thursday was marred by skirmishes between police and stone-throwing opposition supporters, who prevented polling stations from opening in four pro-Odinga counties, forcing election officials to postpone the exercise by 48 hours.
The election commission said more than one in 10 polling stations failed to open. Its chairman, Wafula Chebukati, Tweeted overnight that 6.55 million ballots had been cast – just 34.5 percent of registered voters.
By contrast, turnout in the August election was 80 percent.