Kenya: tight duel for the presidency, calls for unity multiply

Kenya: tight duel for the presidency, calls for unity are multiplying

Since their vote on Tuesday, Kenyans have been holding their breath in the face of what could be one of the tightest presidential duels in the history of their country.

Calls for peace and unity resounded on Sunday across Kenya, immersed in the endless wait for the results of the August 9 presidential election, which appears particularly tight, according to official results partial.

On Sunday morning, according to the tally carried out by the Electoral Commission (IEBC) with regard to almost half of the polling stations, Vice President William Ruto was leading this elbow-to-elbow with 51.25% of the vote, against 48.09% for Raila Odinga, a historic figure in the opposition now supported by outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Commission then cut the live broadcast of the results without giving an explanation.

However, a tally by the Daily Nation, which cited the official data about 70% of the polling stations, indicated in the evening that Mr. Ruto had so far obtained 52.54% of the vote, while Mr. Odinga had obtained 46.78%.

Since their vote on Tuesday, Kenyans have been holding their breath in the face of what could be one of the tightest presidential duels in the country's history. Their patience is unanimously welcomed in a country which, over the past decades, has experienced several episodes of post-election tension and violence, sometimes bloody.

Raila Odinga, a leading figure in the Kenyan opposition, is one of the presidential favourites.

Sunday, Messrs. Ruto and Odinga visited churches in the capital, Nairobi.

Dressed in a white shirt and light jacket, William Ruto called for a peaceful continuation of the election process at a church service: We voted peacefully, we went through this process peacefully, and my prayer is that we end this process peacefully.

Raila Odinga, dressed in a blue tunic, his country color, meanwhile recited a prayer of St. Francis: I want to become an instrument to bring peace, to heal, to unite and to keep hope alive in our country.

Elsewhere, Sunday services, which are very popular in this religious country, have been the occasion for appeals to responsibility.

When the results are announced, do not create problems or chaos, rather pray for the new president that God has given us, Bishop Washington Ogonyo Ngede launched in front of 300 faithful gathered in Kisumu, stronghold of x27;Odinga in the west of the country.

Kenyans pray for peace and unity in the country , undermined by the presidential election.

Leaders come and go, but Kenya lives forever, added this longtime friend of the Odinga family.

In Eldoret, Ruto's stronghold in the Rift Valley, Catholic Diocese Bishop Dominic Kimengich also called for calm, urging politicians to be very careful with what they say.

We have experienced this as Kenyans, we know that any careless remark […] can easily trigger a conflict, he said before a mass in Yamumbi parish. He asked politicians to accept the will of the people expressed at the ballot box.

Echoing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday on Twitter, a fortnight NGOs and trade unions, including Amnesty International, urged patience on Sunday.

We applaud Kenyans for their peaceful conduct during the elections and call for calm while the results are verified, they said in a statement.

Some 22.1 million voters were called to the polls on Tuesday to nominate President Uhuru Kenyatta's successor as well as their governors, parliamentarians and local elected officials.

The results local polls are falling in dribs and drabs. They do not suggest which camp will win the parliamentary majority, but they already mark a historic breakthrough for women.

For the presidential election, the suspense is maximum. If neither of these two candidates wins more than 50% of the vote as well as 25% of the vote in half of the 47 counties, Kenya will go to a second round for the first time.

Vice-President William Ruto is also a presidential favorite: he is even ahead of his main opponent, Raila Odinga.

The IEBC is therefore under pressure, not only because the country, the economic engine of East Africa, is idling while waiting for the results but also because it was strongly criticized five years ago after a presidential election invalidated by the Supreme Court.

On Friday, the Commission recognized that the operations of collecting, counting and verifying the results were longer than expected, slowed down, she said, by interference from political party supporters.

This presidential election is under close scrutiny by the international community. Kenya is indeed a democratic anchor in the region and the results of every presidential election there have been disputed since 2002.

Last Tuesday's poll was marked by a voter turnout of about 65% [compared to 78% in August 2017], against a backdrop of rampant inflation and frustration with the political elite.

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