Kenya’s opposition party today called for a new presidential election to settle the disputed vote that has sparked days of deadly riots.
President Mwai Kibaki is unlikely to accept the demand despite the West insisting a “made-in-Kenya solution” is needed to end the violence that has killed 300 people and displaced 100,000 since his election last week.
International observers say the vote count was flawed. Anyang Nyongo, secretary-general of opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement, said the country should ready “for a new election of the president.” leaving little room for compromise with Mr Kibaki.
“This is about a democracy and justice,” Mr Nyongo said. “We shall continue to defend and promote the right of Kenyans so that the democratic process should be fulfilled.”
Salim Lone, a spokesman for Mr Odinga, said: “We will not back down until there is a clear solution for the crisis caused by the stolen election.”
Mr Odinga had called for a million people to gather yesterday in a park in the city centre, but postponed it after protesters were pushed back by police with tear gas and water cannons.
Today in Kibera, the country’s largest slum, shops remained shut and small groups of protesters gathered on street corners.
In some areas, the political dispute has degenerated into tribal violence pitting Mr Kibaki’s influential Kikuyus against Mr Odinga’s Luos and others. The upheaval has spread to the coast and the western highlands.
The World Bank issued a statement saying the unrest “threatens impressive recent gains in economic growth and poverty reduction” in a country with a billion-dollar tourism industry and a gross domestic product growth rate of 7%.
The turmoil has seen businesses lose millions of pounds, the stock exchange lose five per cent of the value of shares, lucrative tea auctions suspended and agricultural activity in Kenya’s breadbasket region largely halted.
South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu met Mr Odinga in Nairobi yesterday, saying afterward he was ready for “the possibility of mediation.”