In Kenya, pending election results keep the nation in suspense

Two days after Kenya’s presidential election, official results are awaited.

Nairobi, Kenya – It’s been two days since the polls ended in Kenya’s closely fought presidential election, but for many of the country’s citizens, it seems like a long time ago.

“I am very nervous,” said Jacqueline Adhiambo, a 31-year-old resident of Eldoret in western Kenya. “When I wake up in the middle of the night, I have the urge to check my phone or turn on the television.”

On the eve of the August 9 election, Adhiambo, a registered voter in Eldoret, the stronghold of Deputy President and presidential candidate William Ruto, left her town for the capital, Nairobi. She feared violence could erupt if Ruto lost to his closest rival, Raila Odinga.

The ideology was key to 64 percent voter turnout in Tuesday’s election – down from nearly 80 percent in 2017.

Yet, only a few in the country and region – Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and democracy – do not follow the post-election process.

Across the country, many citizens turned on their radios and televisions, though others stuck to social media to get updates.

Dozens of civil society organizations as well as the media and the influential National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) are maintaining parallel heights.

In their tally, many media outlets have separately shown Ruto and Odinga as the frontrunners, causing confusion across the country.

But Ruto has swept the polls, leaving him narrowly trailing his rival.

The IEBC said that after receiving physical copies of Form 34-A, tallying and verification will begin when the polling result form is called from each of the 46,229 polling stations across the country.

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it had received 46,138 of the 46,229 forms with presidential election results as of Thursday afternoon (09:00 GMT). Its website showed that 99 percent of polling unit results have been uploaded.

To win the presidency, any candidate must receive more than 50 percent and at least 25 percent of the vote in at least 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties.

As observers, citizens and people from neighboring countries monitor the election results, there have been calls for calm, given Kenya’s history of disputed elections, which have sometimes resulted in violence.

In 2007, Odinga’s loss sparked violence that ultimately killed more than 1,000 people and displaced more than 600,000, according to human rights groups.

“[We] We want to appeal to all political actors and stakeholders … to continue to maintain peace after the announcement of the election results,” former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, head of the East Africa Community Observer Mission, told a press conference on Thursday morning.

“We have elected our leaders and as voters there is no power beyond that. I hope my candidate wins but whatever the result, we hope for peace,” said 76-year-old Felgona Owido, a Kisumu resident who polled 99 percent for Odinga.

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