Kenyan police fired tear gas and water cannons at opposition protesters in their stronghold of Kisumu as the nation voted for a new president Thursday for the second time in three months.
The main opposition candidate had urged his supporters to boycott the latest race, reflecting bitter divisions in the nation.
In the western town of Kisumu, police threw teargas at opposition supporters and roads remained barricaded. Voting materials arrived, but electoral commission officials did not show up at some polling stations.
Voting appeared peaceful in most of the country. In the capital city of Nairobi, soldiers carrying long guns and tear gas canisters hovered near polling stations.
The election boycott is expected to hand victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta, but in a poll that will be compromised by low turnout and accusations of irregularities.
The election comes after weeks of political twists and turns.
Last month, the Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of annulling incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 8 victory after opposition leader Raila Odinga said the results were electronically tampered with. The court ordered the rerun Thursday.
While the high court ruling appeared to vindicate Odinga, the opposition leader dropped out of the race this month, saying the electoral commission had not implemented reforms.
Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the election, raising the possibility that millions will shun the outcome. A day before the election, activists made a last-ditch effort to stop the vote.
The political uncertainty has left residents of the east African economic powerhouse on edge. The election has become so divisive, it revived fears of post violence like the country experienced in 2007, when at least 1,000 people were killed.
After Kenyatta was declared the winner in the August vote, sporadic clashes erupted in some areas, killing at least 24 people. Read more