Confusion continued to reign in Kenya for a second day after polling, with the two leading presidential rivals both claiming victory ahead of the announcement of the final official results, which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is expected to make late today.
Yesterday, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati told the media the electoral body had ordered all its officials to submit the forms 34B by noon today for validation.
“We have asked all our officers to send in the forms by 11am tomorrow. Once we’re done with the validation, we will immediately tell Kenyans who their next president is,” he said.
However, last evening, the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) of Raila Odinga piled more pressure on IEBC, saying in a press conference that the electoral body must declare their presidential candidate as the winner of Tuesday’s election.
Addressing the press conference flanked by Odinga, Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi, a former vice president, claimed they had received information from sources within IEBC suggesting that Odinga had won the polls.
“We demand that IEBC announce the presidential election results forthwith and declare Rt. Hon Raila Odinga and H.E Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the dully elected president and deputy president of the Republic of Kenya respectively,” the statement read.
However, with results from 97.6 percent of polling stations counted, Kenyatta continues to hold a strong lead. Presidential results released by IEBC on its website show that incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta has garnered 8,113,480 votes (54.24 per cent of the total votes cast) while Odinga, his closest challenger, has 6712934 votes (44.87 per cent).
President Kenyatta has largely stayed out of the media spotlight since casting his vote, just like his deputy William Ruto. Even the social media accounts of the two leaders have been uncharacteristically quiet since voting day.
The silence of the incumbent has left all the attention on Odinga, whose statements about the hacking of the IEBC website by elements who could have attempted to manipulate results in favour of his rivals have stocked sporadic violence in Nairobi and parts of Kisumu, the opposition leader’s stronghold.
Yesterday, IEBC boss Chebukati admitted its database was a target of an unsuccessful hacking attempt, according to BBC. Chebukati said “hacking was attempted but did not succeed.”
Odinga and his Nasa team have maintained their claims of foul play even as several electoral observers such as the Inter-Governmental Agency on Development (IGAD) yesterday said Kenya’s elections were conducted in a “transparent manner.”
“Based on what it has been able to observe, the IGAD observation mission preliminary conclusion is that the general elections were conducted in a peaceful, orderly, and transparent manner and in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kenya.
IGAD calls on all political parties and candidates to respect the will of the people of Kenya and to refrain from any act that might be of disruptive nature to the peace and stability of the country,” said the IGAD statement.
A team headed by former US Secretary of State John Kerry also called for calm and restraint on Thursday, after protests called by the opposition turned violent on Wednesday claiming the lives of at least five people. Kerry told Al Jazeera the allegations needed to be examined but “not a reason to stop the process or question the entire election”.
“The [counting] process is still ongoing, the counting is happening now. And as long as it’s done appropriately, you have an ability to have full integrity of this election. The integrity is still intact.” Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president in charge of the African Union observer mission, has praised the poll so far.
“It would be very regrettable if anything emerges afterwards that sought to corrupt the outcome, to spoil that outcome,” he said.
Yesterday, the head of public service in Kenya, Joseph Kinyua, instructed all civil servants to resume their duties with immediate effect. Kinyua further asked all principal secretaries to submit a list with names of civil servants who will have reported to work on Friday, August 11 in various ministries and departments.
Running Kenya’s poll, according to The Economist, will cost some 49bn Kenyan shillings (about $480 million), with campaign spending said to have cost just as much, making Kenya’s election more expensive per person than that of the United States of America.