Kenya election count puts president in lead
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.