Provisional results show incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta ahead, but opposition accuses officials of hiding Odinga victory
Riot police patrol the streets of Mathare North, Nairobi, one of Raila Odinga’s strongholds. Photograph: Daniel Irungu/EPA
Jason Burke in Nairobi
Thursday 10 August 2017 18.41 BST
International election observers have called on politicians defeated in Kenya’s fiercely contested polls to concede gracefully without taking their struggle to the streets.
The statements by delegations from the EU, the African Union and the US came as opposition groups accused electoral officials of hiding the true results of Tuesday’s elections, which they said showed their leader, Raila Odinga, had won by 300,000 votes.
Provisional results released by Kenya’s election commission have put the incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead by 54.2% of votes counted, to 44% for Odinga.
A final verified declaration of results based on returns signed by agents from all parties at polling stations and constituencies is expected on Friday.
The observers commended officials for the relatively smooth running of the polls, and complimented Kenyans for their “commitment and determination”. Many of the 19 million eligible voters waited for many hours to cast their ballots.
“The electoral process is still ongoing. It is a sign of leadership to be able to congratulate your opponent with grace. It is the responsibility of all Kenyans to remain calm and show restraint,” said the head of the EU delegation, Marietje Schaake.
She said her team had seen no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.
The former US secretary of state John Kerry said the candidates and their parties should work within the law to resolve any disputes.
Kerry, an election observer for the Carter Center, said the Kenyan election commission had an effective system, if fully implemented, to guarantee the integrity of Tuesday’s vote.
“We affirm the conviction that the judicial process, the judicial system of Kenya and the election laws themselves make full and adequate provision for accountability in this election,” Kerry said. “The streets do not.”
Concerns about potential violence rose when Musalia Mudavadi of the National Super Alliance told reporters in Nairobi that the true results had been leaked by a source within the electoral commission and showed Odinga had beaten his long-time rival.
“We demand the [electoral commission] declare the legitimate results and declare Odinga … the legitimately elected president of Kenya,” Mudavadi said.
Odinga claimed on Wednesday that the election commission’s servers had been hacked and the result falsified. Officials at the commission later confirmed there had been an attempt to hack its servers, but said it had failed.
Odinga’s claims of rigging after defeat in 2007 elections prompted rioting and retaliation by security forces, which tipped the country into its worst crisis for decades. Around 1,200 people were killed in a campaign of ethnic violence that followed.
On Wednesday several people died in scattered clashes between police and protesters in opposition strongholds in Nairobi and Kisumu, a city in the west of Kenya, after Odinga’s hacking claim.
Election protests spread to a second Nairobi slum on Thursday. Opposition supporters in Kibera burned tyres and shouted slogans, hours after clashes between police and protesters erupted in Kawangware, another poor area of the capital. One injured man in Kawangware was carried away by protesters who said police had shot him.
Speaking late on Thursday afternoon, Mudavadi called on supporters to remain calm.
Odinga, a polarising figure who is adored by his supporters, also ran and lost in 2013, and took his complaints about the widespread failure of electronic voting equipment to court.
Many Kenyans say that the potential for violence is reduced now because the country has learned from the traumatic experience of 2007.
Many Odinga supporters interviewed by the Guardian in recent days said their leader had been robbed of victory in the last two polls, but that they would not take to the streets if they believed they had been fairly defeated this time.
Observers see the election as the last showdown of a dynastic rivalry between the families of Kenyatta, 55, and Odinga, 72, that has lasted more than half a century. The candidates’ fathers, Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga, went from allies in the struggle for independence from Britain to bitter rivals.
Source – The Guardian
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