Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has edged ahead in a tight presidential race, according to official results reported by Kenyan media on Sunday, as more riot police were deployed inside the national election tallying centre after scuffles and accusations by party agents, APA reports citing Reuters.
The fracas underscored fraying tempers and high tensions within the national counting hall as the country waits for official results from last Tuesday’s election. There were wry digs online over the melee from citizens pointing out that the rest of the nation is waiting patiently.
In the presidential race, official verified results reported by the Nation media group showed Ruto taking 51% of the vote, ahead of left-leaning opposition leader Raila Odinga who had 48%.
Confusion over vote tallying in the media and the slow pace of progress by the electoral commission have fed anxiety in Kenya, which is East Africa’s richest and most stable nation but which has a history of violence following disputed elections.
tally for the presidential race on Sunday. A live feed displaying the results at the national tallying center had disappeared hours earlier.
When asked about the tally, a spokeswoman for the commission referred Reuters to the live feed. Other electoral officials said they were unable to provide the information.
Officially verified results on Saturday, with a little more than a quarter of votes counted, put Odinga in the lead with 54% of the vote while Ruto had 45%.
The winner must get 50% of votes plus one. The commission has seven days from the vote to declare the winners.
A Reuters tally of 263 out of 291 preliminary constituency-level results at 1800 GMT on Sunday showed Ruto in the lead with just under 52% and Odinga at 47.5%. Two minor candidates shared less than a percent between them.
Reuters did not include 19 forms in the count because they lacked signatures, totals, were illegible or had other problems.
The preliminary tally is based on forms that are subject to revision if any discrepancies are discovered during the official verification process.
The many checks and balances are designed to try to prevent the kind of allegations of rigging that provoked violence in 2007, when more than 1,200 people were killed, and in 2017, when more than 100 people were killed.