How foreign media covered Kenya’s repeat poll

The boycott of the repeat presidential election, low turnout and the violence witnessed in various parts of the country dominated coverage of the poll by the international media.

The poll, ordered by the Supreme Court after it nullified the outcome of the August 8 presidential election, was conducted on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal said the presidential election was meant to end Kenya’s democratic crisis but instead pushed the country further into polarisation.

The journal stated that an opposition boycott damped voting and sparked clashes that left three people dead.

VIOLENCE

It also noted that the election commission was forced to cancel voting in some areas, mainly opposition strongholds due to the violence.

Similarly, the Associated Press pegged its story on the opposition boycott giving details of the clash between the opposition supporters and police forcing postponement of voting in areas affected by the violence.

The AP placed the death toll to four people.

“While most of Kenya was peaceful, voter turnout was relatively low even in some regions considered to be strongholds for President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was declared the winner of an August 8 election that later was nullified by the Supreme Court in a decision seen as precedent-setting for Africa,” the AP said.

OPPOSITION

The CNN went with the protests in opposition strongholds after Mr Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the election.

“The political uncertainty has left residents of the East African economic powerhouse on edge. The election has become so divisive, it has revived fears of violence like that experienced in 2007 and 2008, when at least 1,000 people were killed in Kenya,” the CNN said in a report filed by Faith Karimi, Farai Sevenzo and Lauren Said-Moorhouse.

The Guardian of the UK ran with a promise by President Kenyatta to hold dialogue with Mr Odinga after the election.

BOYCOTT

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has raised the prospect of negotiations with his opponent as millions of Kenyans voted in a contentious election rerun marred by a widely observed boycott and sporadic violence,” Jason Burke reported from Nairobi.

Mr Burke notes that the rerun is the latest twist in a long and increasingly chaotic political saga, which has polarised the country, and looks unlikely to end soon.

The BBC story focused on the clashes, the boycott and the case where a teenage boy was shot by police and later died in Kisumu, one of four counties hit by violence.

“We’ve been coming across pockets of protesters as we drive around the city – with police firing teargas to disperse them. Most people here have heeded the boycott call by the opposition and stayed at home, and many polling stations have been barricaded to stop any would-be voters,” Emmanuel Igunza reported.

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