NAIROBI/ELDORET — Preliminary results from Kenya’s presidential election showed a tight race between the two main candidates vying to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta, with citizens praying an announcement of a winner would not unleash violence as in years past.
The Tuesday election is an important test for stability in East Africa’s biggest economy, where two of the last three elections led to bloodshed and disputes over accusations of rigging.
Tuesday’s polls were largely peaceful, although police said they were pursuing a legislator who shot dead a rival’s aide outside a polling station. In the northern town of Eldas, where clashes prevented elections on Tuesday, polling stations opened peacefully on Wednesday, election officials said.
The presidential frontrunners, Deputy President William Ruto and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, are in a close race, results tabulated by the Kenyan media showed.
The winning candidate must get 50 percent plus one vote.
At 1opm, privately-owned Citizen Television showed Odinga narrowly leading with 51,17 percent of the vote and Ruto at 48,55 percent.
In contrast, the privately-owned Nation group had Ruto leading by 50,7 percent to Odinga’s 48,6 percent.
Neither had tallied more than half the votes cast, and it was unclear if they were counting the same portion of the vote since the results forms were uploaded at random.
Academics following the media’s tally said they had found some errors, and cautioned their results were not official.
The final result from the IEBC is expected in days, although legally, it has up to a week.
Turnout was low for Kenya on Tuesday, when voters also chose legislative and local authority representatives.
The commission said that 65 percent of the 22.1 million registered voters cast ballots. Turnout was nearly 80 percent in the last election in 2017. — Reuters