Kenya: Odinga leads presidential race, partial official results show

Kenya: Odinga leads presidential race, partial official results show

Azimio La Umoja (One Kenya Coalition Party) presidential candidate, the face of opponent Raila Odinga is everywhere.

Raila Odinga, a historic figure in Kenyan politics, was slightly ahead of incumbent Vice President William Ruto in the Kenyan presidential race on Saturday, according to partial official results released four days after an election that raises high expectations.

At the start of the afternoon, Mr. Odinga tallied 52.54% of the vote (2,288,315 votes), compared to 46.76% (2,036,795 votes) for Mr. Ruto, out of 29.92%. polling stations, according to official results broadcast from Nairobi, where the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC) is collecting, counting and verifying the results.

Final results must be announced by August 16 at the latest, as required by law. If neither of the two favorites wins more than 50% of the vote, Kenya will experience a presidential run-off for the first time.

If Kenya is considered an island of stability and growth in the heart of a tormented region, the results of all the presidential elections since 2002 have been disputed, sometimes in violence.

Four days after 22.1 million Kenyans were called to the polls, the country is still waiting to hear the name of the successor to Uhuru Kenyatta who, after serving two terms since 2013, has not the right to run for a third.

Passersby walk through the town of Eldoret, the stronghold of William Ruto.

Four candidates were in the running, but the election came down to a duel between two favourites: Raila Odinga, 77, a veteran opposition party who received support from Mr. Kenyatta for his fifth presidential bid , and William Ruto, 55, outgoing Vice President.

Five other polls were held on Tuesday to choose parliamentarians, governors and 1,500 local elected officials.

IEBC chief Wafula Chebukati admitted on Friday that the count of results was not going as fast as expected.

The electoral commission must collect the results from the more than 46,000 polling stations and then verify them. He must also stifle rumors of hacking or other incidents relayed massively on social networks.

On Friday, several Kenyan media interrupted the live vote counts they were conducting on their side, raising questions and impatience in the population.

This approach did not not dictated under pressure, David Omwoyo, head of the Media Council of Kenya, said on Friday evening, assuring that the media were working together to synchronize their estimates.

We are at a really critical moment and the media plays a key role in the process, as the media we are not going to be responsible in the event of chaos, he added in a press release.

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Part of the 50 million inhabitants remain suspended from the media, like these street vendors in Nairobi glued to their radio and in a hurry to know the outcome of this long campaign dominated by the weight of inflation.

Evelyn Oduor, a 35-year-old seamstress, can't wait to get life back to normal. We are very tired. We are not going to work. Our students are at home, schools remaining closed until August 18, she testifies from the city of Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria and stronghold of Odinga.

Two and a half hours away, in the stronghold of William Ruto, the town of Eldoret had normal activity.

The longer the wait for the results goes on, the more the impatience increases and the memory of the past post-election battles, sometimes particularly bloody, also returns to memory.

In 2007-2008 , the contestation of the results had thus led to inter-community clashes, leaving more than 1,100 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, the deadliest chapter since the country's independence in 1963.

During the campaign, MM. Odinga and Ruto pledged they would respect the results of free and fair elections, pledging to take any grievances to court and not through violence.

According to all local and foreign observers, the 2022 election went well overall, despite a few isolated incidents.

This election been marked by a sharp drop in turnout: according to the IEBC, around 65% of the 22.1 million voters turned out to vote on Tuesday, a sharp drop from the 78% recorded in the polls in x27;August 2017.

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