As Kenya’s electoral commission began announcing partial results of yesterday’s general and presidential elections, political observers say voters would know by this weekend who will lead the country. Turnout for Thursday’s vote is being described as unprecedented. The election pitted incumbent President Mwai Kibaki against opposition presidential candidates Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Kalonzo Musyoka of the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-Kenya).
Earlier polls suggested that leading opposition candidate Raila Odinga would win the elections and end president Kibaki’s bid for a final term. From the capital Nairobi, political analyst Michael Tiampati is monitoring results of the elections. He tells reporter Peter Clottey the electoral commission has been announcing some of the results.
“Kenyans went to the polls to elect their president, (that is, who would be the fourth president of the republic), parliamentarian and civic representatives. It has been a kind of calm exercise despite the high temperature during the campaign. It has relatively been calm other than what I would call very minor incidents. It was generally calm, and the turnout has been great. It has been described as historic because the youth for once have come out strongly. And that is a very good indicator that this time around the election shall reflect the will of the people,” Tiampati noted.
He said the electoral commission has been announcing partial results of the elections.
“At the moment, we are receiving a trickle of results from various polling points. By the end of tonight (Friday) we should have something significant in terms of getting constituency results. And by tomorrow, hopefully, we are very optimistic we shall have a good indicator in terms of who the next president of Kenya shall be,” he claimed.
Tiampati said although there were various forms of accusations and finger pointing, the election was generally calm.
“There were some tense moments in the morning, which kind of threw the country into a tense situation, whereby one of the contestants, that is, Raila Odinga, went to the polling point and he could not find his name. But that was rectified later, and Raila Odinga was able to cast his vote in his Keberia constituency,” Tiampati pointed out.
He praised Kenyans for what he described as comporting themselves during the course of the election.
“To a large extent, I think what is going around at the moment is that I think Kenyans should hold their heads up because things have gone pretty smoothly because as opposed to the tension that had preceded this exercise, especially during this campaign period. Many people and especially those that have been observing this election, critically that is, agree with the sentiment that this exercise has been very sober, very focused, very dedicated, and to a large extent is one of the calmest exercises in a long time,” he said.