NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s election took an ominous turn on Wednesday as violent protests erupted in the capital and elsewhere after opposition leader Raila Odinga alleged fraud, saying hackers used the identity of a murdered official to infiltrate the database of the country’s election commission and manipulate results.
With results from almost all of the polling stations counted, President Uhuru Kenyatta was shown with a wide lead over Odinga in his bid for a second term. Soon after Odinga spoke on television, angry protesters in slums of Nairobi and the opposition stronghold of Kisumu in the southwest burned tires, set up roadblocks and clashed with police, witnesses said.
Kenyatta, the 55-year-old son of Kenya’s first president after independence from British colonial rule, campaigned on a record of major infrastructure projects, many backed by China, and claimed strong economic growth. Odinga, 72, also the son of a leader of the independence struggle, has cast himself as a champion of the poor and a harsh critic of endemic corruption.
However, many voters are expected to vote along ethnic lines. Kenyatta is widely seen as the candidate of the Kikuyu people, the country’s largest ethnic group. Odinga is associated with the Luo voting bloc, which has never produced a head of state. There are six other presidential candidates, though they lack the wide support of the top two.