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Kenya: President in the lead, opposition cries out for election fraud

Ⓒ AFP – LUIS TATO – | The count of votes, 8 August 2017 in Nairobi

Kenya’s opposition opponent Raila Odinga has rejected the results of an election that he allegedly manipulated by computer piracy, plunging the country into an atmosphere of anxiety while the outgoing head of state Uhuru Kenyatta is credited with a comfortable advanced.

“This is a fraud of monumental gravity, there has been no election,” Raila Odinga, the candidate for the opposition Nasa coalition, told reporters.

According to rival Kenyatta, hackers “manipulated” the election to the advantage of the outgoing president by taking control of the voice counting system through the access codes of a computer chief of the Electoral Commission Murdered a little more than a week before.

“Uhuru has to go home,” said one who had also challenged his defeats in 2007 and 2013.

The Electoral Commission (IEBC) released on Wednesday morning the results of 93.5% of polling stations, crediting Kenyatta 54.4% of the vote, against Raila Odinga’s 44.74%, out of a total of 14.1 Million votes cast.

On Tuesday night, Odinga had already rejected the provisional results and criticized the IEBC for failing to provide him with the minutes that could corroborate the results transmitted electronically and disseminated on the Commission’s website.

Wednesday, he claimed to be leading the election. He also called the Kenyans calm before adding, “I do not control the people.”

Meanwhile, in Kisumu (west), one of the opposition strongholds, several dozen Odinga supporters had gathered and burned tires at a roundabout in the town on the shores of Lake Victoria . The riot police intervened, using tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

– Fear of violence –

A veteran of Kenyan politics and candidate for the fourth time in the presidential election, Odinga had shouted in fraud in 2007 to announce the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. Kenya then plunged into two months of politico-ethnic violence and police repression with 1,100 deaths and more than 600,000 displaced.

In 2013, Mr Odinga had denounced fraud after the victory in the first round of Mr Kenyatta, relying on the bankruptcy of the electronic system. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which nevertheless validated the results.

On Wednesday morning, the streets of Nairobi were abnormally calm, even though stores closed on election day were gradually reopening. In the Kibera slum, largely acquired by the opposition, several riot police vehicles were deployed.

Upstream of the elections, which resulted in the unprecedented deployment of more than 150,000 members of the security forces, many Kenyan and international observers had expressed fears of unrest in announcing the results of the presidential election.

Ⓒ AFP – SIMON MAINA – | Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a polling station in Gatundu on August 8, 2017

For the 2017 campaign was acrimonious, the opposition having incessantly accused the power to prepare fraud.

To win in the first round, a candidate must obtain an absolute majority and over 25% of the votes in at least 24 of the country’s 47 counties. The participation rate was not communicated by the IEBC.

– Democratic fervor –

Voting was smooth on Tuesday in most of the 41,000 offices, where long lines of expectations attest to the democratic fervor of the Kenyans.

Above all, despite some localized problems, the voter biometric identification system seems to have worked normally, contrary to what happened four years ago.

The opposition, which had nevertheless spared no criticism against the IEBC during the campaign, had even said at first “largely impressed” by his work.

The approximately 19.6 million Kenyan voters were also to elect their deputies, governors, senators, local elected representatives and women’s representatives to the Assembly. And according to provisional results, the opposition appeared to be losing the coveted post of governor of Nairobi.

But it was the presidential election that provoked the most passions, which opposed the son of the first independent Kenyan president, Jomo Kenyatta, and the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, briefly vice president before being dismissed by Jomo.

Ⓒ STR/AFP – SIMON MAINA – | Kenyans line up to vote in Gatundu, August 8, 2017

Voting in Kenya is more about feelings of ethnicity than about programs, and MM. Kenyatta (a Kikuyu) and Odinga (a Luo) had set up two powerful electoral alliances.

Mr Kenyatta, 55, and his vice-president William Ruto (a Kalenjin) had put forward their economic record: since 2013, the country has aligned growth rates to more than 5% and developed its infrastructure.

Raila Odinga denigrated this record, criticized the rise in food prices and posed as a guarantee of better economic growth.

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