Tallying under way in closely contested Kenya election

Nairobi, Kenya – The tallying of results from Kenya’s presidential and parliamentary elections is ongoing, a day after millions voted for a successor to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Deputy President William Ruto, 55, is squaring up against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the leading candidates in the race to replace Kenyatta, who is finishing up the second of two five-year terms.

Voting on Tuesday was largely peaceful but the turnout was low, with only 30 percent of the registered 22 million voters showing up as of noon (09:00 GMT), six hours into the vote. By 4pm (13:00 GMT), that had swelled to 56 percent.

There were long queues of people outside polling stations in the capital, Nairobi, a few hours before polling officially began but voting also extended past the official 6pm (15:00 GMT) closing time at some stations nationwide due to delayed starts.

“Transmission of results has started,” Wafula Chebukati, the head of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) told reporters on Tuesday evening.

According to the IEBC’s website, results had been collected from 95.6 percent of the 46,229 polling stations across the country’s 47 counties, as of Wednesday morning.

About 200 electronic voter kits failed, of a total of more than 46,000, the commission said.

Local newspaper The Nation and other organisations, including the National Churches of Kenya, are observing parallel tallies.

Some reports indicate that Ruto has won in polling units where Kenyatta and Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua voted, but both candidates are going neck and neck in the overall race.

But the IEBC is expected to wait for physical copies of Form 34-A, the results form from the polling stations, to be delivered to the National Tallying Centre for verification and computation before any results are announced.

That is not likely to happen till Thursday at the earliest, pundits say. To win the presidency, a candidate needs 50 percent of the vote in general, as well as 25 percent in at least 24 counties.