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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga rejects early vote results

Nairobi: Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says he rejects results from the election commission on the country's presidential vote, raising fears his supporters could mount street protests.

"[The results] are fictitious, they are fake," he told a news conference following Tuesday's poll, saying the election board was required by law to display forms signed by party observers from each polling centre certifying the results and had not done so.


Maasai men converse under a tree after they cast their ballots in Eseki, 140 kms south of Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: AP

Instead, the election board was displaying a running tally on its website that showed President Uhuru Kenyatta leading with 54.8 per cent of the vote to Odinga's 44.3 per cent with 85 per cent of of polling stations reporting results.

Odinga rejected those numbers, saying Kenyatta's lead had been suspiciously constant since tallying began and did not jibe with what his own party agents were telling him.

"We have our projections from our agents which show we are ahead by far," he said.

Odinga ran in Kenya's previous two elections and lost both, blaming vote rigging following irregularities at the polls.

In 2007, his call for protests sparked ethnic violence that killed 1200 people.


Kenyan Opposition leader Raila Odinga, second left, casts his vote. Photo: AP

This time, he invoked the unsolved torture and murder of a top election official days before the vote to justify his fears of rigging.

"We fear this was exactly the reason Chris Msando was assassinated, so this could happen," he said.

Former US president Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, had on Monday emerged from partial seclusion since leaving office, to urge Kenyan leaders to reject violence and incitement and respect the will of the people.

"I urge Kenyan leaders to [...] work together no matter the outcome," he said in a statement. "I urge all Kenyans to work for an election - and aftermath - that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new constitution and the future of your country. Any disputes around the election should be resolved peacefully, through Kenya's institutions and the rule of law."

Few voices from outside Kenya could resonate more powerfully than that of Obama. As president, he made a high-profile visit to the country in 2015, where he was celebrated as the country's most famous son even as he urged it to fortify its fragile democracy, tackle corruption, overcome ethnic divisions and protect human rights.

Reuters, New York Times




On the 49th Parallel          

                 Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in anarchy"
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni katika machafuko"


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