Ex-UN chief Annan warns Kenyan leaders on rhetoric
The warning from Kofi Annan, who mediated during a post-election crisis a decade ago, came as the death toll from violence since Tuesday’s vote rose to at least 24.
NAIROBI - Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told political leaders in Kenya on Saturday to be “careful with their rhetoric and actions” and urged opposition leader Raila Odinga to pursue any complaints about the vote in court.
The warning from Annan, who mediated during a post-election crisis a decade ago, came as the death toll from violence since Tuesday’s vote rose to at least 24.
Odinga’s Coalition has rejected the results, claiming massive fraud, and said it will not go to court to challenge them.
Kenyan police have killed at least 11 people in a crackdown on protests as anger at the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta erupted in the western city of Kisumu and slums surrounding the capital, officials and witnesses said on Saturday.
However, the NASA opposition coalition, led by four-time presidential hopeful Odinga, put the death toll at more than 100, including 10 children, but did not provide evidence.
WATCH: Violent clashes in Kenya following election result
Odinga has rejected the poll and its result as “massive” fraud.
The eruption of violence has revived memories of a decade ago, when Odinga, now 72, lost an election in controversial circumstances that sparked a wave of political and ethnic unrest in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.
Reuters was able to confirm 11 deaths, including one girl, in the space of 24 hours.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people had been shot dead by police since Tuesday, election day.
‘PACKING CORPSES INTO BODY BAGS’
Top Odinga lieutenant Johnson Muthama said police had been packing corpses into body bags and dumping them, remarks likely to exacerbate the tensions that followed Friday night's official announcement that Kenyatta had won, with 54.3 percent of votes.
Mwenda Njeka, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the opposition claims were “hogwash”.
Acting Interior Minister Fred Matiang'i had earlier said trouble was localised and blamed it on “criminal elements” rather than legitimate political protest. He also denied accusations of police brutality.
“Let us be honest - there are no demonstrations happening,” he told reporters.
“Individuals or gangs that are looting shops, that want to endanger lives, that are breaking into people's businesses - those are not demonstrators. They are criminals and we expect police to deal with criminals how criminals should be dealt with.”