Kenya elec­tion count puts pres­i­dent in lead

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

Uhuru Keny­atta, Kenyan Pres­i­dent

NAIROBI — Kenyan Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was lead­ing chal­lenger Raila Odinga by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin on Wed­nes­day in nearly com­plete elec­tion re­sults, but the op­po­si­tion said the count­ing process was flawed and dis­puted the tally.

The web­site of Kenya’s elec­tion com­mis­sion showed Keny­atta with 54.8 per­cent and op­po­si­tion leader Odinga with 44.4 per­cent af­ter votes were counted from more than 35,000 of the 40,800 polling sta­tions. The com­mis­sion did not re­lease in­for­ma­tion about which con­stituen­cies had been counted.

The elec­tion body’s omis­sion of con­stituency re­sults prompted sharp crit­i­cism from Odinga, who also ran against Keny­atta in the 2013 vote and un­suc­cess­fully chal­lenged the re­sults in court with al­le­ga­tions of vote-tam­per­ing.

The long­time op­po­si­tion fig­ure also ran in the 2007 elec­tion, which was fol­lowed by vi­o­lence fu­eled by eth­nic di­vi­sions that killed more than 1,000 peo­ple.

“A clean cred­i­ble process would by now have a dash­board show­ing all tal­lies from all con­stituen­cies to add to a sum total so that coun­try can know which part of the coun­try has been counted and what the votes are,” Odinga said in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day.

“The sys­tem has failed,” Odinga said. He added that the elec­tion com­mis­sion “has just said that no par­ties have dis­puted the re­sults. How do par­ties dis­pute re­sults which they do not even know their ori­gins?”

Elec­tion of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edged the op­po­si­tion ob­jec­tion, but de­fended their ac­tions.

“We be­lieve that by dis­play­ing re­sults, we have been do­ing well to en­hance trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in the elec­toral process, con­sis­tent with the com­mit­ment the com­mis­sion has made to the Kenya peo­ple,” said com­mis­sioner Con­salata Bucha Nkatha Maina, vice-chair­woman of the elec­tion com­mis­sion.

The com­mis­sion’s CEO, Ezra Chiloba, also said a re­sults screen at the com­mis­sion’s count­ing cen­ter had frozen be­cause too much data was be­ing re­ceived, and that tal­lies would be up­dated later.

A sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion with a sys­tems fail­ure in the 2013 elec­tion led to Odinga’s le­gal chal­lenge at the time, though the top court ruled in fa­vor of Keny­atta.

Keny­atta, 55, son of Kenya’s first pres­i­dent af­ter in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule, cam­paigned this year on a record of ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects and claimed strong eco­nomic growth.

Odinga, 72, also the son of a leader of the in­de­pen­dence strug­gle, cast him­self as a cham­pion of the poor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.