Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s supporters said the ballot count in Kenya’s general elections had been rigged and called for counting to be started from scratch.
“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,” said Mr. Odinga’s running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, at a press conference in Nairobi, even as he called on Kenyans to remain calm.
Mr. Musyoka’s comments are significant against the backdrop of the 2007 elections when more than 1,200 people were killed in pitched post-election battles after candidates questioned the integrity of the result.
With approximately half the votes counted, Mr. Odinga had about two million votes against the 2.7 million garnered by his main rival, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr. Kenyatta has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the 2007 violence, but has denied the charges.
As per the constitution, brought in after the 2007 violence, the winning candidate must get at least 50 per cent of the national vote and 25 per cent of the vote in each county to avoid a second round run-off.
Mr. Kenyatta currently has more than 50 per cent of the votes counted thus far, but a large number of “spoiled” and “rejected” ballot papers could complicate an already tense situation.
After a largely peaceful day of voting on March 4, the country’s electronic tallying system crashed, prompting a manual recount of votes and allegations of vote tampering.
Further, more than 300,000 votes were rejected in the first count, but subsequently the number of rejected ballots was reduced to only 40,000.
Candidates have differed over how to incorporate the rejected ballots, with Mr. Odinga’s supporters calling for the rejected ballots to be incorporated into the main pool that would dilute the vote-shares of all candidates and make a run-off more likely.