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Fogbound in Kenya

The commission has said it won’t publish results until it has verified the original forms, with just 2 per cent of the tallies released so far.

Statesman News Service |

Three days after Kenya’s presidential elections on August 9, it still remains unclear who won or whether any candidate secured the outright majority needed to claim the top post. Rolling provisional results collated by local media houses ~ the Nation Media Group, Citizen Television and Standard Media Group ~ indicate that either Deputy President William Ruto or former Prime Minister Raila Odinga could reach the 50 per cent-plus-one-vote threshold by a razor-thin margin or fall just short of the mark, with the lead changing hands several times between them. The outlets have each collated more than 13 million votes. Turnout in the election was estimated at about 65 per cent of the 22.1 million registered voters. Kenyan publications are using forms digitally submitted by polling stations to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to compile their tallies. The commission has said it won’t publish results until it has verified the original forms, with just 2 per cent of the tallies released so far.

Apart from needing to win more than half the valid votes cast, a successful presidential candidate must secure least 25 per cent support in half of Kenya’s 47 counties, failing which a fresh election must be held within 30 days. Yields on Kenya’s Eurobonds are likely to fall further if the incoming government recommits itself to an ongoing International Monetary Fund programme. The head of the government-created Media Council of Kenya said “no one has asked anyone to stop” but added that “we want to align the numbers with each other” and “I think let’s peer review our results”. Kenyans and other observers expressed concern after Kenya Television Network, NTV Kenya and Citizen TV tallies of presidential results posted online by the Election Commission stopped or slowed down on Thursday. The differing results stoked anxiety as the longtime opposition leader, Raila Odinga, backed by the outgoing President, Uhuru Kenyatta, faces Deputy President, William Ruto, who fell out with the President years ago.

Perhaps for the first time, Kenya might bear witness to a runoff presidential election. With no clear winner emerging, social media was replete with unverified claims of supporters of both candidates. Rights groups have referred to the current trend as dangerous not the least in a country roiled by political violence. The Election Commission chair put it succinctly when he admitted that “we’re not moving as fast as we should.” The public posting of “results forms” was meant to be a pathbreaking exercise in transparency for the Election Commission. The entity is under pressure after the High Court cited irregularities and binned the results of the previous presidential election in 2017 ~ a first in Kenya. Kenyatta had won the fresh vote after it was boycotted by Odinga. The slowdown in 2022 has been greeted with criticism generally. Kenya is in crisis.