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Kenya faces the result of a tight election campaign

#Kenya #faces #result #tight #election #campaign

Kenya is expected to learn the outcome of its hard-fought presidential election on Monday after a long wait for results that have left the nation on edge.

Deputy President William Ruto led by just over 51 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Raila Odinga, according to a tally published by the Daily Nation newspaper, based on official results from more than 80 percent of constituencies.

At Sunday’s service in the largely Christian country, both men had asked for quiet as they waited for the final results of the August 9 vote.

Election day passed largely peacefully in East Africa’s political and economic powerhouse, but memories of electoral fraud and deadly violence in 2007-08 and 2017 linger.

And the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is under intense pressure to deliver a clean poll in a country seen as a beacon of stability in a troubled region.

According to the Kenyan constitution, the results must be available by the end of Tuesday at the latest.

“I’m ready for any result. Whether it’s Ruto or Raila, we have to keep going. We’ve waited too long,” said Livingstone Wabwire, 27, a shoeshine boy in downtown Nairobi.

– disillusionment –

Ruto, 55, is deputy president but effectively ran as a challenger after outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta threw his support behind his former enemy Odinga, the 77-year-old veteran opposition leader who made his fifth bid for the top post.

Kenyans voted in six elections for a new president, as well as senators, governors, legislators, women’s representatives and about 1,500 county officials.

Kenyatta, the 60-year-old son of the first post-independence president, has served two terms and was unable to run again.

The winner of the presidential race must receive 50 percent plus one vote and at least a quarter of the votes in 24 of Kenya’s 47 districts.

Otherwise, the country must hold a runoff within 30 days of the original vote.

Observers say that with the race so close, an appeal to the Supreme Court for the losing nominee is almost certain, meaning it could be many weeks before a new president takes office.

Turnout on Election Day was lower than expected at around 65 percent of Kenya’s 22 million registered voters, compared to around 78 percent in the last election in 2017.

Observers blamed the disenchantment on the political elite, particularly among young people in a country grappling with a severe cost-of-living crisis and a nagging drought that is leaving millions hungry.

– “At the Breaking Point” –

Lawyer David Mwaure – one of the four presidential candidates along with former spy George Wajackoyah – conceded on Sunday, backing Ruto, whose party won a key gubernatorial race when Johnson secured Sakaja control of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and wealthiest city.

The Star newspaper said on Monday “public concern” about the election results was at “strain point”.

However, the Kenyans behaved peacefully during and after the elections without any significant incidents being reported.

“The will of the people is paramount. We must all accept and respect this decision, despite the pain of loss,” an editorial said.

The IEBC had been criticized for its handling of the August 2017 poll, which was annulled by the Supreme Court in a historic first for Africa after Odinga challenged the result.

Dozens of people were killed in the post-election chaos, with police brutality blamed for the deaths.

Kenyatta won the October replay after a boycott by Odinga.

The worst electoral violence in Kenya’s history came after a disputed vote in 2007 when more than 1,100 people were killed in bloodshed between rival tribes.

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