Kenyan Election Official Says Opposition Victory Claim is “Ridiculous”


Celebrations broke out in pockets of Kenya on Thursday after the opposition said its candidate Raila Odinga should be declared winner of the presidential vote, a claim an election commission official said was “ridiculous”.

An opposition official said information from “confidential sources” showed Odinga had secured victory, contradicting official preliminary results released so far which show President Uhuru Kenyatta had won 54.2 percent of votes, ahead of Odinga on 44.9 percent – a lead of 1.4 million votes with 99 percent of polling stations reported.

International observers praised the handling of Tuesday’s election and the European Union mission said it had seen no sign of manipulation during voting.

As they wait for final results to be tallied and confirmed, many Kenyans are nervous of a repeat of the clashes that killed about 1,200 people after the bitterly contested 2007 election.

Musalia Mudavadi, a senior official in the opposition coalition, told reporters information from “confidential sources” at the election commission showed Odinga had secured victory by just under 300,000 votes. He provided no evidence but demanded Odinga be declared winner.

Minutes later, hundreds of Odinga supporters, mainly young men, poured onto the streets of the opposition stronghold of Kisumu in celebration. At least one truck of anti-riot police followed them, a Reuters witness said. Some older men tried to convince the youth not to join the crowds.

There were pockets of similar celebrations in opposition strongholds in Nairobi as well.

After complaining of fraud, Odinga told Reuters he believed most of more than 20,000 polling station result forms uploaded to the election commission’s website were fake.

Odinga said results were being filled out by agents working out of a Nairobi hotel but he did not provide any evidence. He previously said the election commission’s computer network had been hacked and that results were “fictitious”.

A senior official in the election commission rejected the opposition’s claim.

“They have done their own additions and they think Raila has 8 million (votes), which is ridiculous, there is nothing,” Abdi Yakub Guliye said. “As far as we are concerned, we don’t believe they have any credible data.”

Later the commission provided a detailed rebuttal of the opposition claims, pointing out mathematical errors and saying documents purporting to be from their system “were plainly falsified and contain elementary errors.”

@Reuters

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