Kenya opposition cries foul as poll results put Kenyatta ahead

2017-08-09 09:30
An electoral Commission official counts ballots at a polling station in Nairobi. (AFP)

An electoral Commission official counts ballots at a polling station in Nairobi. (AFP)

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

Nairobi - Kenya's opposition leader rejected preliminary results from a tightly-contested presidential election on Wednesday, decrying the tallying process as a "sham" as President Uhuru Kenyatta surged ahead.

The allegation by Kenyatta's longtime rival Raila Odinga raised fears of a possibly violent dispute over the results of Tuesday's election to decide the leader of east Africa's most vibrant democracy.

"These results are fake, it is a sham. They cannot be credible," Odinga told a press conference in the early hours of the morning as partial results fell quickly via an electronic tallying system aimed at preventing fraud.

Results released by the electoral commission (IEBC) showed Kenyatta leading with 55% of the nearly 13 million ballots counted against Odinga's 44%, a difference of nearly 1.4 million votes.

Odinga claimed the IEBC had not provided documents that would show how the tallies were arrived at.

Ethnically-driven political violence

"It is the machine that has voted," Odinga told reporters. "These results are wrong."

Odinga, 72, who is making his fourth stab at the presidency, accused his rivals of stealing victory from him through rigging both in 2007 and 2013.

In 2007, the disputed vote resulted in two months of ethnically-driven political violence that killed 1 100 people and displaced 600 000 in a major blow to a nation seen as a regional bastion of stability.

The contested election in 2013 was taken to the courts, and ended largely peacefully even though Odinga lost.

The run-up to this year's vote was fraught with tension, heightened by the torture and murder of Chris Msando, a key administrator of the biometric voting system, whose tortured and strangled body was found on the outskirts of Nairobi earlier this month.

"We fear that this is the precise reason why Mr. Chris Msando was assassinated," Odinga said, referring to his fraud claims.

No stopping results

The IEBC was undeterred by Odinga's statements, with commissioner Roslyn Akombe saying that despite a request by an unnamed political party to stop publishing preliminary results, "as a commission we decided that as part of the commitment we made to the voters and the Kenyan people, transparency and accountability are part of them."

"This is why, as a commission, we have decided we will continue to display the results," she said.

The contest between Odinga and Kenyatta was seen by pollsters as too close to call ahead of the vote.

It is the second time the two men have faced off in a presidential election in dynastic rivalry that has lasted more than half a century since their fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga went from allies in the struggle for independence to bitter rivals.

The men belong to two of Kenya's main ethnic groups, Kenyatta from the Kikuyu, the largest, and Odinga from the Luo.

Both had secured formidable alliances with other influential communities in Kenya, where voting takes place largely along tribal lines.

Raphael Tunju, secretary-general of Kenyatta's Jubilee party, shrugged off Odinga's allegations.

"I don't expect anything else from NASA," he said, referring to Odinga's National Super Alliance party.

On Tuesday, Kenyatta urged Odinga to accept the result should he lose.

"I also want to say that if I lose, I will accept the will of the people," Kenyatta said after voting.

A quiet vote 

Despite reports of some technical glitches and delays, Tuesday's vote went off peacefully, and the IEBC moved quickly to deal with any complaints.

A clerk in a polling station where ballot papers were pre-marked as "rejected," was fired, and police arrested another clerk in the port city Mombasa who was caught issuing double ballot papers to certain voters.

Shortly before polls closed, NASA put out a statement praising poll officials and security forces, but complained that some of its voters had been turned away.

NASA also said it had reports of "pre-marked ballot papers" and attempts to bribe voters.

Kenyans voted in six different elections, including several knife-edge races for governor that have fired up local tensions.

The opposition also looked set to lose the governorship of the capital Nairobi - which had been seen as a major coup in 2013 - to the ruling party candidate.

Kenyatta, 55, is seeking re-election after a first term in which he oversaw a massive infrastructure drive and steady economic growth of more than five percent.

But he has been criticised for soaring food prices - with prices jumping 20% year-on-year in May - and massive corruption scandals on his watch.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya 2017 elections  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Weird things dogs do

Caught your dog doing something... well a little bit odd? Don’t worry, there’s a simple explanation for his behaviour.

 
 

Paws

Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Traffic Alerts
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.