NAIROBI – Kenya neared the outcome of its hard-fought presidential election on Monday after days of anxious waiting as Vice President William Ruto led with just over 51% of the vote to Raila Odinga‘s 48%.
The latest statistics were made available in a tally published by the Daily Nation newspaper, based on official results from more than 80% of constituencies.
The two men had asked for silence on Sunday pending the final results of the August 9 vote.
Election day was largely peaceful, but memories of voter fraud and deadly violence in 2007-08 and 2017 still haunt Kenyans.
The Independent Electoral and Borders Commission is under intense pressure to hold a clean ballot in a country seen as a beacon of stability in a troubled region.
According to the Kenyan constitution, the results must be available Tuesday at the latest.
Ruto, 55, is vice president but becomes a virtual challenger after incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta threw his support behind his old foe Odinga, the 77-year-old veteran opposition leader who made his fifth bid for the post on higher.
Kenyans voted in six elections, electing a new president as well as senators, governors, legislators, women’s representatives and around 1,500 county officials.
Turnout was lower than expected at around 65% of Kenya’s 22 million registered voters, with observers blaming disenchantment among the political elite in a country grappling with a severe cost of living crisis.
The IEBC had been harshly criticized for its handling of the August 2017 poll, which, in a historic first for Africa, was overturned by the Supreme Court after Odinga challenged the result.
Dozens of people have been killed in the post-election chaos, with police brutality responsible for the deaths.
Kenyatta won the October replay after a boycott by Odinga.
- RosGwen24 News / Daily Nation / AFP