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Kenya Opposition Leader: Don't Accept Election Results

  • Jill Craig

Opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga addresses a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 9, 2017.

The usually busy streets of Nairobi were quiet Wednesday as results of Tuesday’s presidential poll continued to flow into Kenya’s national electoral counting center, and then to the public as they were tabulated.

The National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition’s opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, said Wednesday morning that the electoral commission should not be releasing provisional results without verification through the official forms that were supposed to accompany them from the polling stations and constituencies.

Usually busy streets of downtown Nairobi are quiet Wednesday, as Kenyans wait to hear the final results of Tuesday's national election. Aug. 9, 2017
Usually busy streets of downtown Nairobi are quiet Wednesday, as Kenyans wait to hear the final results of Tuesday's national election. Aug. 9, 2017

“We are basically telling our people not to accept these results,” said Odinga. “These are foreign results, not only the presidential but right through from the governors up to the MCAs (members of county assemblies). This is what we’re telling Kenyans and we’re asking them to stay calm, remain calm.”

Earlier, Odinga tweeted, “The fraud Jubilee (party) has perpetuated on Kenyans surpasses any level of voter theft in our country's history. This time we caught them.”

Odinga was referring to what he says was a hack of the electoral commission’s computer network.

Raphael Tuju is the secretary general of Jubilee, the party of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We know that it’s been a very hard-fought campaign and whoever emerges as the winner, there will be a loser and when somebody loses it’s fairly an emotive issue, especially when you invested emotions, money, time and energy in the campaign. But our appeal is that we should accept the results,” said Tuju. “That is what our president committed himself to and we do hope that NASA themselves commit themselves to the same.”

Electoral Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati said Wednesday that NASA was "casting dispersions" on one item of the electoral process, the transmission of results.

“But what we are saying is from what I understood, the only issue is on the transmission, not on the whole electoral process,” said Chebukati. “And that’s why the commission is going a little, a mile longer. Instead of us just relying on the transmitted results, we’re also calling for the original documents for purposes of knowing and verifying before we do the final announcement."

Chebukati said his team was in possession of scanned copies of forms from all 40,883 polling stations and is awaiting scanned copies from the 290 constituencies. He also said that they will be using the original forms to verify the provisional results. The forms from the polling stations are being uploaded in order to be accessible to the public.

The commission also has announced that if there is a discrepancy between electronic and hard copy results, the signed hard copies will be final. Chebukati assured Kenyans that the official results will be released only after the signed forms from the polling stations have been verified.

Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga throw back a tear gas canister at Kenyan security forces in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Aug. 9, 2017.
Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga throw back a tear gas canister at Kenyan security forces in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Aug. 9, 2017.

As a whole, the country has remained peaceful, although police did use tear gas against demonstrators in the western city of Kisumu, and protests erupted in the Nairobi slum of Mathare.

But for the majority of Kenyans now, it’s just a waiting game.

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