History has a strange way of repeating itself as two scions of Kenya’s founding fathers, Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, fought for the Holy Grail in Kenya’s presidential election.
Once again it appears like Uhuru is destined for greatness just like his father outfoxed Jaramogi, Raila’s father and Kenya’s first vice president.
The Jubilee coalition flag bearer, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, was still ahead on Tuesday evening with nearly half of the votes counted in Kenya’s closely contested presidential vote. By the time we went to press, Uhuru held 53 per cent of the vote while Raila followed closely at 41.9 per cent.
However, the outcome could only feed into the narrative of ethnicity and the tyranny of numbers, as some analysts had predicted. By the end of the voter registration exercise on December 18, the largest number of voters recorded were in the Central where Kenyatta hails from and the Rift Valley, the birthplace of his running mate, William Ruto.
There was a large voter turnout registered in the Central province and Rift Valley as the pendulum swung favourably in Uhuru’s favour as results began trickling in at the electronic tally centre in Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, which fed into this hypothesis.
The results also contrasted opinion polls, which largely favoured Raila apart from the Ipsos Synovate which placed Uhuru ahead of Raila with a 0.4 per cent advantage. But the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman, Ahmed Isaack Hassan, said the results were only provisional. So, is there hope that Raila can rise from the early setback like the phoenix from the ashes?
It was not clear yet whether Raila could stage a comeback with more than 50 per cent of votes counted. But so significant was the margin that many believed it would be difficult for Raila to overtake Uhuru and emerge the winner in the first round. There was perhaps a slim chance that he could force a re-run by denying Uhuru a mandatory 50 per cent in the first round. It is also required that the winner must win at least 25 per cent votes in half of the 47 counties.
However, Raila had performed well at his home turf in Luo-Nyanza province for example getting about 90 per cent of the vote in Isiaya county. Raila also made forays into the western province, the home turf of Amani coalition candidate and outgoing deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi where he got a majority of votes. Though Odinga’s running mate and outgoing Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka called for calm, he said he was confident of a victory because they had not yet tallied the results of Cord’s strongholds.
He, however, raised concern with the slow pace at which results are being tallied.
“We have noted that the process of releasing results by IEBC system is slow even in areas as close as Nairobi city and we have forwarded our concerns in this regard to them and we hope they will deal with them expeditiously and transparently,” Musyoka said yesterday.
The IEBC also said there was a major concern in regard to the large numbers of spoilt votes.
“During simulation, there were cases where voters were casting their ballot in the wrong ballot boxes. The colour coding seemed not to be good enough, but these are things we need to audit. Due to the complexity of this election, there is a higher number of spoilt votes than we would have wished to see. The IEBC will have a clear count of the spoilt votes at the end of the exercise,” Hassan told journalists at the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya.
The spoilt votes by the time we went to press were more than the two per cent Mudavadi had got across the country. Other candidates who performed dismally included Paul Muite, the lawyer who was amongst President Daniel arap Moi’s regime fiercest critics. The election was by yesterday largely calm apart from the isolated incident where twelve people including six police officers were on Sunday night killed in an ambush in Mombasa and Kilifi counties hours before voting began on Monday morning.
An observer from the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) , Crispy Kaheru, who is monitoring the elections from Nairobi told The Observer yesterday that though there were glitches, the IEBC had done a good job.
“First of all we need to appreciate the large logistical exercise the IEBC had to face. They have introduced an electronic voter system, which was a challenge,” said Kaheru.
However, he said the results reflected the ethnic face of Kenyan politics and also revealed that ‘there were high sales of machetes in Kisumu and Nakuru, which you cannot wish away.’
He also said that minority ethnic groups living in strongholds were quite vulnerable and faced intimidation during the voting exercise.
As a result of glitches, Isaack Hassan also announced that the results would not be announced in the next 48 hours but promised it would be within the next seven days as stipulated in the Constitution.
Early yesterday morning the Airtel and Safaricom servers broke down resulting in the delays of relaying the polls.
|< Prev||Next >|