News / Africa

    Kenyan Election Chairman Rejects Tampering Claim

    Polling clerks record information on a pile of ballot boxes containing cast ballot papers at the Chandaria tallying center in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, March 6, 2013.
    Polling clerks record information on a pile of ballot boxes containing cast ballot papers at the Chandaria tallying center in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, March 6, 2013.
    VOA News
    Kenya's election chief is rejecting an allegation that results are being tampered with from Monday's national vote.

    In a briefing at Kenya's national vote-counting center, Ahmed Issack Hassan said that because of a rigorous verification process in place, "there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever."

    Hassan, the head of Kenya's election commission, spoke Thursday after the running mate of presidential candidate Raila Odinga said the vote-counting should be stopped.  Kalonzo Musyoka suggested that rigging was under way.

    "There has been a total failure of the electronic vote transmission system, and we have evidence that the results we are receiving have actually been doctored. In some cases, total votes cast exceed the number of registered voters," said Musyoka.

    Raila Odinga

    • Prime minister, head of the CORD alliance
    • 68 years old, son of Kenya’s first vice president
    • Unsuccessfully ran for president against Mwai Kibaki in 2007
    • Elected to parliament in 1992
    • Charged with treason and detained without trial in the 1980s
    Hassan said the commission cannot stop the vote tally. He said if anyone objects to the results, they can use the legal course provided by Kenya's new constitution.

    Meanwhile, judges at the International Criminal Court have postponed the trial of Uhuru Kenyatta, who is leading Odinga in the presidential vote count. The ICC announced Thursday that Kenyatta's trial, previously set to begin April 11, has been delayed until July 9.

    Kenyatta is charged with helping to organize post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 that killed more than 1,100 people.
     
    Defense attorneys had requested more time to study evidence in the case. Judges said the defense team also has raised "very serious issues" that may not be resolved by the original trial date.

    Uhuru Kenyatta

    • Deputy prime minister, former finance minister
    • 51 years old, son of Kenya's first president
    • Faces crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague relating to post-election violence in 2007
    • Nominated to parliament in 2001
    • Appointed to run the Kenya Tourism Board in 1999
    The latest results from Monday's presidential poll show Kenyatta in front 53 to 42 percent. Election workers are now counting votes manually, after their electronic system broke down.  

    Officials now say final results could be released as early as Friday, but they legally have until Monday to finish the count.

    The winning candidate is required to secure more than 50 percent of all votes cast or face a second-round vote in April.

    The manual count has produced a far lower number of rejected ballots from a figure election officials gave late Tuesday. Fewer than 40,000 have been rejected, compared to the nearly 500,000 from the earlier provisional results.

    Despite some problems, international observers have described the vote as transparent and credible.

    Kenyatta, son of Kenya's first president and one of Africa's wealthiest men, faces trial in the International Criminal Court for allegedly bankrolling death squads that carried out reprisal attacks against opposition supporters after disputed 2007 polls.

    More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence while hundreds of thousands of others were forced to flee their homes.

    About 14 million Kenyans were eligible to vote in the elections for president, parliament and other key offices. Both Odinga and Kenyatta have promised to respect the result of the vote.

    Monday's election was mostly peaceful, although just hours before voting began, at least 13 people, including seven police officers, were killed along Kenya’s coast. Kenyan police arraigned three suspects in court Tuesday.

    Election Chairman Hassan said there were no reported incidents of violence during voting hours. He also said voter turnout appears to have been above 70 percent.

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