See the chaotic scenes as Kenya elects new president, who goes to jail on corruption charges
Ahead of Kenya’s historic presidential election on Thursday, which is seen as a bellwether for Africa’s continentwide elections due later this year, the electoral body has been rocked by a week-long political and religious witch-hunt that has resulted in over 100 people being arrested and charged with various crimes ranging from corruption to rape.
Ahead of the poll, which is being held amid a political crisis in which the prime minister has been arrested and charged with corruption, more than 100 people were arrested and at least seven police officers were assaulted in a series of violence that resulted in four people being killed and dozens more being injured.
The killings and violent disturbances were condemned by world leaders, including US president Barack Obama and British prime minister David Cameron, but have done little to stifle the election campaign.
In the two weeks leading up to the vote, security forces have killed at least 13 people, including two young girls, on election day, while the bodies of four people were found at random locations.
In response, officials arrested several hundred people on Friday, including many opposition officials and civil society activists, in what Kenyan election officials called an attempt “to avoid violence on the day of the vote”.
The US State Department said: “We strongly condemn the violence in Kenya, which threatens to further politicise this election. We call on authorities to release all those in custody immediately; to ensure that police force is used cautiously to maintain public safety and prevent further violence and that all peaceful protesters are allowed to exercise their freedom of expression.”
A day before the election, the government said that a total of 2,000 people had been arrested for the violence since last Friday when an opposition party and its supporters clashed with the police in Eldoret.
Many of those arrested were not convicted for the violence that killed two police officers.
“The police were forced into a corner by a mob of thousands of residents,