KOGUTA, KENYA — Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is demanding a new presidential election within 90 days, saying the country is in “grave danger” from political violence.
Odinga spoke to the Associated Press, three days after he boycotted Thursday’s rerun of the August election, whose results were thrown out by the Supreme Court because of irregularities.
Odinga called Thursday’s vote invalid because President Uhuru Kenyatta faced no opposition.
“It was Uhuru versus Uhuru,” Odinga told the AP. He also said the president is trying to “destroy other institutions of governance in our country.”
Odinga accused the United States and other Western diplomats of being “very irresponsible” for urging Thursday’s repeat vote.
“Us, we are talking about credible elections…they say any election is OK. They say they are Kenya’s friends…if they are our friends, then we do not need enemies,” he told AP.
Odinga said he is willing to talk with the Kenyatta government on holding a free and fair election, while, at the same time calling for strikes, boycotts, and peaceful protests to pressure Kenyatta.
With nearly all the ballots counted, the election commission gives Kenyatta about 7 million votes — a number Odinga says has to be inflated because of a low turnout by the number of registered voters.
Post-election violence has left at least eight people dead in Kenya, including a elderly man possibly murdered in the Koguta region – an area situated between the Kalenjin community which supports Kenyatta and the Luo community which backs Odinga.
Tension and hatred between the two sides over land rights and politics have simmered for years
Kalenjin youths armed with bows and arrows and machetes tell VOA’s Mohammed Yusuf that Luo residents have been blocking roads as part of a political protest, making their lives difficult. They say they were prevented from getting to a polling place to vote Thursday.
A local Luo leader, Marreen Otiang, says the killing must stop.
“We do not want any Luo dying in the name of insecurity in the name of voting. We have a right if they want peace, let them give us peace. Enough is enough. We are tired.”
– Mohammed Yusuf