Stop the count!
NAIROBI — The running mate of presidential candidate Raila Odinga called for the vote count to be halted yesterday and cast doubt on the fairness of a process that is still incomplete three days after the poll, remarks that could inflame a largely peaceful election.
Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, is trailing Uhuru Kenyatta in the partial count. His running mate Kalonzo Musyoka said his comments were not a call for mass action and he urged voters to stay calm and patient. Disputes over Kenya’s last election in 2007 sparked ethnic violence that killed 1,200 people.
“We as a coalition take the position the national vote tallying process lacks integrity and has to be stopped and re-started using primary documents from the polling stations,” Musyoka told a news conference.
“We have evidence the results we are receiving have been doctored,” he said.
Authorities have insisted the process is fair and said the result would not be compromised by the failure of electronic counting technology that has slowed down the tally.
Western donors are watching closely, worried about a nation seen as vital to the region’s stability but also fretting about how they might deal with a win by Kenyatta, who is indicted for crimes against humanity over election violence last time.
Kenyans have been hoping this vote will restore its image as one of Africa’s more stable democracy after the mayhem five years ago and many have voice determination not to take their differences to the streets but to turn to a reformed judiciary.
“It is not a call to mass action,” Musyoka said. “We must tell them (Kenyans) there will be no mass action. We are committed as a coalition to the principle of the rule of law.”
Ahmed Issack Hassan, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, said late yesterday that counting could be concluded tomorrow, but might drag on until Monday, the last day on which by law the results must be publicly declared.
Kenyatta’s coalition had no immediate comment but has previously questioned aspects of the process without calling for a halt. Kenyatta’s team have also urged voters to be patient. (Reuters)