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Kenya's election results set to be released Monday

Posted October 29, 2017 8:34 a.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2017 3:55 a.m. EDT

— The full results of Kenya's presidential election rerun are expected to be released Monday, according to the country's voting authority, capping off months of drama and sporadic violence surrounding voting that has highlighted ongoing discord in the country.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said in a tweet Sunday that an announcement would come Monday.

Kenya's Supreme Court previously invalidated the results of the original August 8 poll that handed victory to the incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta, after his opponent, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, claimed the results were electronically tampered with.

When the country's voting authority, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), failed to provide Kenya's highest court with access to its computer servers, the court ruled the results were fraudulent and and ordered a rerun within 60 days.

But earlier this month, Odinga announced that he would withdraw from last Thursday's rerun because the IEBC had not adequately implemented reforms. Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the election, and activists have made efforts to stop the vote.

Kenyatta is looking to claim his second five-year term as president, and his victory seems likely.

Odinga: Vote is a 'sham'

The IEBC tweeted that a preliminary review put the number at about 7.5 million, which is a voter turnout of 42.8%.

That number differed from a previous figure given Thursday, when the voting authority had said about 6.5 million ballots were cast, though it cautioned the number was preliminary and likely to change.

The IEBC's figure from Sunday evening was in line with the Kenyatta government's claim that about 7.5 million Kenyans turned out to vote. Odinga's National Super Alliance political coalition (NASA) meanwhile, said only 3.5 million had cast ballots.

"You see, this is just a sham," Odinga told CNN on Friday, saying the low voter turnout represented "a vote of no confidence in the government of President Kenyatta."

But Deputy President William Ruto told CNN Sunday there was no confusion over what the voter turnout figures were, and called Odinga a "peddler of untruths."

"The confusion, or so-called confusion, arose from the figures which were peddled around by Mr. Odinga that only 3.5 million Kenyans showed up to vote," Ruto said. "The reality is that 7.6 million Kenyans woke up early in the morning, went to the polling booths and voted."

Ruto also repeated a claim that the low voter turnout was due to "orchestrated" violence, "sponsored" by the opposition party. Odinga, Ruto said, "organized militia" to prevent election officials and materials from their polling stations.

Ethnic tensions

Violent clashes have broken out over the election, with 24 people killed in the immediate wake of the initial vote, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. At least six have died in connection to the runoff, officials said.

The presidential election has renewed tensions between Kenya's ethnic groups, whose bonds are often stronger than the national identity. Kenya has at least 40 ethnic groups.

Kenyatta is a member of the country's largest community, the Kikuyu, originating in the country's central highlands. The Kikuyu have long been accused of wielding strong economic and political power in the country.

Odinga is part of the Luo community, which some say has become increasingly marginalized in recent years.