Final results from Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are expected to be released in the coming days — officially, the agency has a week to declare — but it appears Kenyatta, who leads the Jubilee Alliance, is on track for an outright win, which requires one vote more than 50%.
But in a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner, flatly rejected the preliminary results as “fictitious” and “fake” while arguing that the election authority’s systems had been “hacked” to manipulate the results in his rival’s favor.
“What the IEBC has posted as results of the Presidential Elections is a complete fraud based on a multiplier that fraudulently gave Uhuru Kenyatta votes that were not cast,” he said in a series of tweets. “We have uncovered the fraud. Uhuru must go home. The IEBC must be fully accountable,” he added.
Tuesday’s election was a peaceful and enthusiastic affair with a huge turnout and a few minor delays and technical issues reported. Several polling stations that were affected by delays were kept open until almost midnight to ensure that all could vote.
But Odinga’s complaints of election irregularities have stoked fears of aggrieved supporters taking to the streets in a scenario reminiscent of 2007’s post-election violence.
More than 1,000 people were killed in months of ethnic violence in the aftermath of the 2007 vote when Odinga — defeated by then-President Mwai Kibaki — also claimed the vote was rigged.
As Odinga cried foul on Wednesday, reports were emerging of pockets of protests in three opposition strongholds. Two protesters were shot and killed by police in the slum area of Mathare on the outskirts of Nairobi, two sources who aren’t being named for their safety told CNN.
“Police fired straight at the people… One man was shot in the head, another man was shot in the chest,” said one eyewitness, who lives on the street where about 40 demonstrators were gathered. The protesters then fled leaving the bodies lying in the street, the same source said.
In the Kondele area in Kisumu, a local journalist told CNN that riot police were on the scene engaged in “running battles” with a group of around 500 to 600 “agitated youths.”
Broken up into smaller groups of 30 to 40, the protesters were chanting “Uhuru must go.” A police helicopter was also on patrol in the area and water cannons were deployed.
And in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, a community leader who runs an local NGO said protests have now spread there too.
He estimated some 1,000 people were demonstrating, with the unrest “gaining momentum.”
The IEBC and opposition have called for calm and are urging voters to “maintain the peace” while the final results are being tabulated.
Unverified online results criticized
In response to Odinga’s claims, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said it appears the opposition’s issues stem from results transmission rather than with the whole election. He reminded voters that the results being displayed online are not final figures.
Kenyan law states that electronic reporting must be double-checked and verified by physical paper forms from polling stations before the IEBC can declare a winner. Chebukati said the voting authority intends to uphold that requirement.
“We set up a system which has carried us through and when Kenyans went to vote, it worked for them, it worked for us — the IEBC,” he said.
“The system is set up to do results transmission but we have had concerns raised and we cannot as a commission ignore those concerns. We want to look at the original forms, verify and at the end of the day, do an audit and those [hacking] questions will be answered.”
The Kenya Human Rights Commission, too, denounced the “unverifiable results” which if left unaddressed could “create serious political instability.”
The statement from the independent organization included several examples of discrepancies between the preliminary results on the IEBC website and the original paper copies signed by party agents at various polling stations.
Over 400 international election observers — including officials from the US and the European Union — were deployed across the country to monitor voting, the tallying process and some of the post-election period.
A EU overseas mission monitor told CNN the group would present its preliminary findings at a press conference on Thursday.
CNN’s Dominique van Heerden, Briana Duggan and Farai Sevenzo contributed to this report from Nairobi while Lauren Said-Moorhouse wrote from London.