News / Africa

Rejected Votes in Kenya Spur Controversy

Electoral workers engage in vote tally verification process at National Tallying Center in Nairobi, Kenya March 6, 2013
Electoral workers engage in vote tally verification process at National Tallying Center in Nairobi, Kenya March 6, 2013
Roopa Gogineni

Vote counting from Kenya's presidential election continued Wednesday as officers of the independent electoral commission delivered ballots from around the country to the national tally center in Nairobi. Debate now surrounds what to do with rejected votes, a decision that could determine whether someone wins in the first round.

Two days after millions of Kenyans voted to elect the country’s fourth president, the vote-tallying process has become embroiled in controversy.

The point of contention is a pile of rejected votes, now estimated to number 500,000.

Joaquim Chissano, head of the AU observer mission and former president of Mozambique, noted his concern.

"The African Union election observation mission, however, notes with concern the high level of rejected ballots which may have resulted from inadequate voter registration in the run-up to the elections. Although the mission recognizes efforts made by the IEBC to conduct voter education, it is of the view that these were not fully satisfactory," Chissano said.

If rejected ballots are included in the total vote tally, it would likely dilute the frontrunners' current share and make it more difficult for either of the leading candidates to receive the absolute majority required to win without a second round.

Candidate Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Coalition accused British High Commissioner Christian Turner and Maina Kiai, a prominent Kenyan human rights activist, of trying to influence the electoral commission's decision about counting rejected votes. Jubilee called the alleged interference "an attempt to deny the Jubilee Coalition outright victory."

According to provisional results, Kenyatta is leading in the vote count over Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister.

Responding to Jubilee’s statement, Maina Kiai said Kenya’s constitution clearly states that a candidate must receive more than half of all votes cast to win an election.

The British Foreign Office said it was neutral and did not endorse any candidate over another. The British statement denied Jubilee’s accusations, saying, "Claims of British interference, including by the High Commission, in the electoral process are entirely false and misleading."

Jubilee’s vice presidential candidate William Ruto urged the independent electoral commission to speed up the counting.

"We want to state the Jubilee Coalition supports the IEBC in releasing these official results but we want to request they expedite the release of the result," Ruto said.

On Wednesday night, electoral commission Chairman Issack Hassan predicted the official results would be out by Friday.

"Please allow the commission to finish this exercise. I want to assure you all the votes will be counted," Hassan said.

He reminded Kenyans the commission legally has until Monday, one week after election day, to announce the results.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs