AU calls for calm as Kenyans await final election results
12 August, 2017, 00:24 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday was officially declared the victor of a bitterly disputed election in Kenya, but his opponent, Raila Odinga, refused to concede defeat, slamming the vote as a "charade" and edging the country closer to violence.
Kenyans on Tuesday voted in large numbers an election that pits President Uhuru Kenyatta against challenger Raila Odinga in this East African economic hub known for its relative, long-term stability as well as the ethnic allegiances that shadow its democracy.
Rafael Tuju, a top official in Kenyatta's party, said the opposition's claims were unfounded, and Kenya's election commission said it would investigate.
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.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said a total of 15,073,662 voters took part in the elections. Many Kenyans fear a repeat of violence that followed the 2007 election.
The country's election commission says Kenyatta won Tuesday's election with 54.27% of the vote, calling it "credible, fair and peaceful".
Odinga contested and lost Kenya's last two elections, which he also said were rigged.
"And then if they have a concern, go through the rule of law, go to the court process and let the evidence be there for everybody to see".
The Chairperson of the AU Commission visited Kenya ahead of the polls on July 18-20 this year, during which he called for peaceful and credible elections before, during and after the elections, recalled the statement.
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Kenyatta, son of the country's founding father who in 2013 became Kenya's youngest president, was seeking a second and final five-year term.
Earlier on Friday, in Odinga's stronghold of Kisumu, security forces blocked the main road to the capital Nairobi as young people gathered nearby and started burning tyres.
"We don't want to fight", said driver Evans Omondi, 28, wearing a polo shirt and jeans.
He said the opposition's own informal vote tally gave him 8.1 million votes compared with 7.2 million for Kenyatta.
They ruled out the possibility of seeking legal redress after the commission insisted on announcing the victor before addressing their concerns.
As recently as Thursday, Odinga's campaign manager, Musalia Mudavadi, declared victory for his candidate, saying that "a serious attempt to try to either doctor or alter the final results" had fraudulently swung the balance of the election. Without having all these forms to present to the public, the IEBC has had to admit that the results it has been announcing since Wednesay are unofficial.
The electoral commission admitted that hackers had tried to access its database, but said they did not succeed.
Many Kenyans have left Nairobi in recent days, bracing for violence. Most of the country has remained calm.
Already, though, tensions have boiled over into violence in some of the slums of Nairobi. At least three people were killed amid clashes with police.
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