Tense wait in Kenya as vote count in presidential election continues

Nairobi, Aug 13 (EFE).- Kenya’s former prime minister Raila Odinga was leading his closest rival, deputy president William Ruto, as vote counting in the country’s presidential election continued on Saturday.

The general elections were held on Tuesday, but the Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (IEBC) has so far only managed to verify about 2.5 million votes from about 18% of the country’s constituencies.

The commission has received in Nairobi the forms with the tallied results of all the constituencies in the country, which still have to be verified one by one, IEBC deputy president Juliana Cherera said.

The IEBC must by law publish the results within seven days of the elections, she added.

Martha Karua, who is running alongside Odinga for vice-president, said she was confident of their win.

If there is no clear winner, Kenya will face an unprecedented second round of voting that must be held within 30 days — something that has never occurred since Nairobi restored political pluralism in 1991.

Following a heated two-month electoral campaign, Tuesday’s elections unfolded largely peacefully, save for a few isolated incidents.

According to IEBC data, the total turnout was at 56% one hour before polls closed, considerably less than the 79.5% during the 2017 elections.

Voters interviewed by Efe at the polls all said that they were keen to avoid the violence that has marked the previous vote, which saw clashes spurred by irregularities and accusations of fraud after the results were published.

But the tension can be felt both on social media and in the streets of cities like Nairobi, which are much emptier than usual.

Civil society observers and supporters of the main candidates have trade allegations of electoral irregularities, although they have not always provided evidence.

More than 1,100 people were killed and some 600,000 were displaced in post-election violence in 2007. EFE


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