Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Kenyan opposition refuses to sign off on election 'charade'

Mahama commends Kenyans for peaceful election Kenyan opposition refuses to sign off on election 'charade'
Howard Terry | 12 August, 2017, 00:26

Uhuru was announced the victor by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after garnering 8,203, 290 votes, a 54.27% representation of all the votes cast, against his closest challenger, Raila Odinga, who received 6,762,224 votes, a 44.74% representation of the votes cast.

Preliminary results on Thursday had put Kenyatta at 54.2 percent of the vote and Odinga at 44.9 percent.

Kenyan election officials say only they have the authority to declare the victor, and worldwide election observers say they have seen no signs of interfering with the vote.

While Kenyatta holds a strong lead with nearly all polling stations counted, supporters of Odinga say an unofficial tally shows he won. "William Ruto as deputy-president elect", the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati said. Many Kenyans fear a repeat of violence that followed the 2007 election.

The move was a significant climb-down from its previous position when the coalition rejected figures released by the commission and said Odinga should be declared president. "Elections come and go; Kenya is here to stay".

"He is not accepting the results and that is why we are on the streets, but police have started shooting", said demonstrator Sebastian Omolo in Kisumu, one of Kenya's largest cities.

The U.S. State Department has urged Kenyans to refrain from violence and patiently await the election commission's announcement of the final results.

Police fired tear gas at rock-throwing opposition supporters in one Nairobi neighbourhood, residents said, but most of the capital and the rest of the country were calm after four people were killed in election-related violence on Wednesday. They stated that NASA allies in the IEBC have leaked the real numbers to them, which show that Kenyatta is not ahead by 1.4 million votes as the IEBC's website shows - rather it is Odinga ahead of Kenyatta by 286,298 votes.

James Orengo, another senior NASA official, called the election process a "charade" and a "disaster". By the evening, after multiple delays, the country's elections commission still had not made any announcements.

"The results published by the electoral commission are a fraud", John Mbadi, a member of Odinga's opposition coalition National Super Alliance, reiterated during a press conference on Friday.

In 2013, Odinga lost to Kenyatta and claimed the results were manipulated but Kenya's Supreme Court announced Kenyatta the victor.

Bystanders watch as Kenyan police trucks arrive following a protest at Nairobi's Mathare slum on August 11. The Kenyan election commission has disputed his claims that its database was hacked and results were manipulated in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who seeks a second term. He has not indicated how he will mount any challenge to the results in this election.

Many Kenyans have left Nairobi in recent days, bracing for violence. A few miles from Kibera, there are Land Rover dealerships and new glass high rise towers, but the slum remains crime-ridden and poor, much of it without plumbing or electricity.

The election is a test of democracy in the East African economic power.

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