Kenyan Election: Kenyatta Maintains Strong Lead, Odinga Rejects Early Results


Kenya’s capital Nairobi got off to a slow start on Wednesday morning after a vote that has seen incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta maintaining a strong lead in the election count.

The electoral commission website showed Kenyatta with 54.8 percent of the vote against 44.3 percent for opposition leader Raila Odinga, a margin of nearly 1.4 million votes.

Odinga rejected early results as “fictitious” and “fake”, lashing out in a late night news conference saying his party’s own tally put him in the lead.

The opposition leader’s comments have raised fears that his supporters could mount street protests.

“They (the results) are fictitious, they are fake,” he told a news conference, saying the election board was required by law to display forms signed by party observers from each polling centre certifying the results and had not done so.

Instead, the election board was displaying a running tally on its website that showed Kenyatta leading with roughly 55 percent of the vote after nearly three-quarters of polling stations had reported results.

Odinga said Kenyatta’s lead had been suspiciously constant since tallying began and did not jibe with what his own party agents were telling him.

“We have our projections from our agents which show we are ahead by far,” he said.

Under Kenyan law, results from each polling station should be recorded on a form that is signed by observers from each party in the polling station, then posted by the election board on a public website. The measure is supposed to help ensure the elections are not rigged and parties can cross-check results.

Odinga ran in the last two elections, lost and blamed rigging after the vote was marred by irregularities.

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

Streets in the capital were quiet this morning due to fears of post-election violence.

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