Keny­atta wins pres­i­den­tial poll with 98% vote

Kenya’s op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga had al­ready branded the re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion a farce

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

NAIROBI: In­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta won 98 per cent of the vote in a re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Kenya, although only 39 per cent of vot­ers turned out due to an op­po­si­tion boy­cott, the elec­toral com­mis­sion said on Mon­day.

The an­nounce­ment touched off small protests in a few op­po­si­tion strongholds, but also cel­e­bra­tions in pro-Keny­atta ar­eas of the east African coun­try. Vet­eran op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga had al- ready branded the elec­tion a farce.

Given the deeply po­larised at­mos­phere, some Kenyans fear that the vi­o­lence seen so far - for the most part pro­test­ers clash­ing with po­lice - is start­ing to take on eth­nic over­tones af­ter two deaths in clashes between ri­val groups at the week­end.

On Mon­day, the U.S. am­bas­sador said Wash­ing­ton was “pro­foundly con­cerned” by the out­breaks of vi­o­lence in Kenya - east Africa’s big­gest econ­omy and a key se­cu­rity ally of the West against ex­trem­ism - since the Oc­to­ber 26 re-run elec­tion.

In his vic­tory speech, Keny­atta re­peated his be­lief that his vic­tory in the orig­i­nal Au­gust 8 elec­tion - later nul­li­fied by the Supreme Court due to a string of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties - was le­git­i­mate and said di­a­logue would have to wait if the op­po­si­tion was go­ing to lodge court cases again.

“My vic­tory to­day is just part of a process that is likely to once again be sub­jected to a con­sti­tu­tional test through our courts ... I will sub­mit to this con­sti­tu­tional path re­gard­less of the out­come,” Keny­atta said.

“Those who are go­ing to ask me: ‘Are you go­ing to en­gage in di­a­logue?’ ... Let them (the op­po­si­tion) first and fore­most ex­haust all their con­sti­tu­tional op­tions.”

Keny­atta took 98 per cent of the vote, re­sults from 266 out of 291 con­stituen­cies showed. The elec­toral com­mis­sion said 7,616,217 valid votes were cast, rep­re­sent­ing 39 per cent of the 19.6 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers.

Protests by Odinga’s sup­port­ers pre­vented polling sta­tions from open­ing in 25 con­stituen­cies.

The elec­tion com­mis­sion said that poor se­cu­rity pre­vented bal­lot­ing in those ar­eas but the fi­nal an­nounce­ment could go ahead as it would not “ma­te­ri­ally af­fect” the re­sult. As the elec­tion com­mis­sion be­gan read­ing re­sults on Mon­day, around 100 youths lis­ten­ing through their mo­bile phones gath­ered in Nairobi’s Kawang­ware slum, chant­ing “No Raila No Peace”. Full story @ time­so­fo­

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