Kenya poll re­sults rigged, claims Odinga

Vi­o­lence feared af­ter count puts Keny­atta ahead

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - REUTERS NAIROBI

KENYA’S op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga said yes­ter­day the elec­tion com­mis­sion’s com­puter sys­tem had been hacked and false re­sults posted to show Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta with a strong lead in a case of mas­sive fraud.

The elec­tion com­mis­sion said Tues­day’s vote was free and fair, and it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether or not its com­puter sys­tems and vote-tal­ly­ing data­base had been com­pro­mised.

Odinga’s com­ments raised con­cerns of un­rest over the re­sults in Kenya, East Africa’s lead­ing econ­omy and a re­gional hub. About 1 200 peo­ple died in vi­o­lence af­ter a dis­puted elec­tion in 2007.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence, Odinga urged his sup­port­ers to re­main calm, but added: “I don’t con­trol the peo­ple.”

His deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, also called for calm but said the op­po­si­tion might call for “ac­tion” at a later date. He gave no de­tails.

Shortly af­ter Odinga spoke, po­lice fired tear­gas to scat­ter a group of about 100 sup­port­ers in the west­ern city of Kisumu, an op­po­si­tion strong­hold. The un­armed men had been chant­ing “No Raila, no peace”.

As of 11am, the elec­tion com­mis­sion web­site put Keny­atta in front with 54.3% of votes com­pared with 45% for Odinga – a mar­gin of nearly 1.4 mil­lion bal­lots with more than 95% of polling sta­tions re­ported.

Odinga pub­lished his own party’s as­sess­ment of the count on Twitter, say­ing he had 8.1 mil­lion votes against 7.2 mil­lion for Keny­atta.

The main lo­cal elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing group said its par­al­lel vote tally was in­com­plete, so it could not com­ment on the dif­fer­ing fig­ures. For­eign ob­server mis­sions de­clined to com­ment.

Keny­atta, a 55-year-old busi­ness­man seek­ing a sec­ond five-year term, had held a steady lead of around 10% since the start of count­ing af­ter the peace­ful vote.

Odinga, 72, a former po­lit­i­cal pris­oner and self-de­scribed left­ist, de­scribed the re­ported hack as an at­tack on Kenya’s democ­racy and pub­lished 50 pages of com­puter logs on his Face­book page to sup­port his claims.

De­spite its mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar elec­tronic vot­ing sys­tem, the cru­cial ev­i­dence on vot­ing comes from the paper forms signed at each of the coun­try’s 41 000 polling sta­tions.

Re­sults in each polling sta­tion are recorded on a form – known as a 34A – that ob­servers from each party must sign. Th­ese should then be scanned, sent to the elec­tion board and posted on a web­site.

The mea­sure is de­signed to en­sure the elec­tions can­not be rigged and par­ties can cross-check re­sults.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, the com­mis­sion said it had re­ceived 28 000 forms so far and was work­ing to make all forms pub­lic. Nei­ther the com­mis­sion nor Odinga sup­plied forms to back up their num­bers.

The Kenya Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, a well-known non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion, said it had dis­cov­ered some dis­crep­an­cies be­tween pro­vi­sional re­sults on the elec­tion com­mis­sion web­site and the paper forms.

It cited five ex­am­ples, in­clud­ing a polling sta­tion in west­ern Nandi county where the elec­toral board’s web­site recorded 439 re­jected votes, but the paper form only showed four.

Odinga ran in Kenya’s last two elec­tions and lost, blam­ing vote rig­ging fol­low­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties at both polls.

In 2007, tal­ly­ing was stopped and the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent de­clared the win­ner, trig­ger­ing an out­cry from Odinga’s camp. The eth­nic and po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence that fol­lowed killed 1 200 peo­ple and dis­placed 600 000.

In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court cases against Keny­atta and his now-deputy, Wil­liam Ruto, for help­ing di­rect that vi­o­lence, col­lapsed as wit­nesses died or dis­ap­peared.

In 2013, Odinga took his con­cerns to court. This time, he in­voked the un­solved tor­ture and mur­der of a top elec­tion of­fi­cial days be­fore the vote to jus­tify his fears of rig­ging.

“We fear this was ex­actly the rea­son Chris Msando was as­sas­si­nated, so this could hap­pen,” he said.

Hack­ers may have used Msando’s iden­tity to ac­cess the elec­tronic tal­ly­ing sys­tem, Odinga said.

PIC­TURE: AP

Se­cu­rity forces chase sup­port­ers of Kenyan op­po­si­tion leader and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Raila Odinga, who were demon­strat­ing in the Mathare area of Nairobi yes­ter­day.

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