Keny­atta wins 98% in boy­cotted poll

The Herald (South Africa) - - WORLD - Fran Blandy

KENYAN Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was de­clared vic­tor yes­ter­day of the coun­try’s deeply di­vi­sive elections.

Keny­atta took 98% of the bal­lots cast in a poll boy­cotted by ri­val Raila Odinga, spark­ing fears of fur­ther vi­o­lence in op­po­si­tion strongholds and a pos­si­bil­ity of more le­gal bat­tles.

De­spite his crush­ing win, the turnout of just 38.8% among 19.6 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers is set to raise questions about the cred­i­bil­ity of an elec­tion that has plunged Kenya into its worst cri­sis in a decade.

In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) chair­man Wa­fula Che­bukati said Keny­atta had re­ceived 7 483 895 votes to Odinga’s 73 228 – less than 1% of votes cast – in a sign the boy­cott had held.

A to­tal of 7 616 217 cast bal­lots in the protest-hit elec­tion on Thurs­day.

The vote was the chaotic cli­max of two months of po­lit­i­cal drama, af­ter the Supreme Court over­turned Keny­atta’s vic­tory in Au­gust 8 polls over wide­spread ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and mis­man­age­ment by the IEBC.

Vi­o­lent protests, the mur­der of an IEBC of­fi­cial and the res­ig­na­tion of an­other who fled the coun­try con­demn­ing a flawed process, have seen the coun­try lurch from cri­sis to cri­sis dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod.

Che­bukati -- who just be­fore the elec­tion had called into doubt its cred­i­bil­ity due to in­ter­nal IEBC di­vi­sions and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence – said he was con­fi­dent the poll had been free, fair and cred­i­ble.

Ahead of the an­nounce­ment, se­cu­rity was stepped up in flash­point ar­eas in the west, in Nairobi’s Mathare slum and its cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict and also in the coastal city of Mom­basa, a po­lice source said.

Shortly af­ter the re­sults were an­nounced, de­mon­stra­tors be­gan burn­ing tyres in the western city of Kisumu as well as in Nairobi’s Kib­era slum. At least nine peo­ple have died since elec­tion day, many shot by po­lice ac­cord­ing to rights groups, tak­ing the death toll since the first pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on Au­gust 8 to 49.

Odinga re­fused to take part in the re­run, ac­cus­ing the IEBC of fail­ing to make suf­fi­cient re­forms to en­sure fair­ness.

He had called on his vot­ers to stay away on elec­tion day. But in the west, many blocked polling sta­tions, lead­ing to vi­o­lent clashes with po­lice.

Plans to restage the vote in the western re­gions on Satur­day were quickly called off af­ter a sec­ond day of protests.

Che­bukati has aban­doned plans to resched­ule the vote in 25 vi­o­lence-hit ar­eas.

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