Kenya’s opposition leader rejected preliminary results from a tightly-contested presidential election on Wednesday, decrying the tallying process as a “sham” as President Uhuru Kenyatta surged ahead.
The allegation by Kenyatta’s longtime rival Raila Odinga raised fears of a possibly violent dispute over the results of Tuesday’s election to decide the leader of east Africa’s most vibrant democracy.
“These results are fake, it is a sham. They cannot be credible,” Odinga told a press conference in the early hours of the morning as partial results fell quickly via an electronic tallying system aimed at preventing fraud.
Results released by the electoral commission (IEBC) showed Kenyatta leading with 55 percent of the nearly 13 million ballots counted against Odinga’s 44 percent, a difference of nearly 1.4 million votes.
Odinga claimed the IEBC had not provided documents that would show how the tallies were arrived at.
“It is the machine that has voted,” Odinga told reporters. “These results are wrong.”
Odinga, 72, who is making his fourth stab at the presidency, accused his rivals of stealing victory from him through rigging both in 2007 and 2013.
In 2007, the disputed vote resulted in two months of ethnically-driven political violence that killed 1,100 people and displaced 600,000 in a major blow to a nation seen as a regional bastion of stability.
The contested election in 2013 was taken to the courts, and ended largely peacefully even though Odinga lost.
The run-up to this year’s vote was fraught with tension, heightened by the torture and murder of Chris Msando, a key administrator of the biometric voting system, whose tortured and strangled body was found on the outskirts of Nairobi earlier this month.
“We fear that this is the precise reason why Mr. Chris Msando was assassinated,” Odinga said, referring to his fraud claims.—APP