Kenya polls: Kenyatta maintains lead

2013-03-07 10:42
Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta gestures to queuing voters after casting his vote, at the Mutomo primary school near Gatundu, north of Nairobi, Kenya. (AP)

Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta gestures to queuing voters after casting his vote, at the Mutomo primary school near Gatundu, north of Nairobi, Kenya. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta maintained a clear lead on Thursday as votes continue to be counted in the critical presidential election, with almost half of estimated ballots cast so far tallied.

Kenyatta's party on Wednesday criticised the inclusion of spoiled ballots in the tally after Monday's elections, the first since 2007 when a dispute over the counting process erupted into weeks of deadly violence that left more than 1 100 dead.

Both Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity over the 2007-8 unrest.

As of 07:00 GMT, more than 60 hours since polls closed, Kenyatta had at least 53% of valid votes compared to 42% for his closest rival Prime Minister Raila Odinga, according to official results relayed by Kenyan media.

Leaders and officials have urged calm after hitches led an electronic tallying system to stall, forcing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to read out results delivered in person by returning officers.

Partial results from almost 4.5 million votes - from a total of 14.3 million registered voters - showed that Kenyatta had taken more than 2.4 million against almost 1.9 million for Odinga.

But Kenyatta's party has objected to the inclusion of mountains of spoiled ballots reported during the initial electronic count, saying their use in overall totals was motivated by a "sinister and suspect" logic.

Key controversy

With the gap between the frontrunners small enough to be overturned, the inclusion of spoiled ballots - more than 5% of votes cast so far, according to the electronic count - has become a key controversy.

The inclusion of so many rejected ballots greatly adds to the number of votes needed for a candidate to break the 50% threshold for a first round win, raising the prospect of a runoff due within a month.

"The Jubilee Coalition is scandalised that sensible Kenyans can so much as think of including condemned ballots," an official from Kenyatta's coalition, Charity Ngilu, told reporters on Wednesday.

To win outright and avoid a second round, a candidate must win more than half of all votes cast, according to the constitution, as well as at least 25% of votes in more than half of all 47 counties.

IEBC chairperson Ahmed Issack Hassan has said official results are expected on Friday, although legally the commission has until Monday to deliver the tallies.

Helicopters and chartered planes have been sent to ferry election officials from far-flung counties to Nairobi to deliver results, with others coming by road.

- SAPA
Read more on:    international criminal court  |  uhuru kenyatta  |  william ruto  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Love is in the air and you are in the mood to share and spend an abundant amount of time and energy with someone special. You may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.