Kenya’s Presidential Election: Live Updates

Credit…Fredrik Lerneryd/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

NAIROBI, Kenya — A wave of reduction tinged with jubilation washed throughout Kenya on Tuesday as its hotly contested presidential election handed largely peacefully after months of bitter jostling and dirt slinging. Supporters feted one of many front-runners, Raila Odinga, at his Nairobi stronghold, whereas his decided rival, William Ruto, praised the majesty of democracy after casting his vote earlier than daybreak.

But that’s seemingly simply the beginning of the battle.

As the polls closed, Kenya’s election shifted into a brand new and unpredictable part that, if earlier elections are a information, could possibly be rocky.

Past elections gave solution to intervals of tense uncertainty involving accusations of vote-rigging, protracted courtroom dramas, bouts of road violence and even a homicide thriller. It might be weeks, even months, earlier than a brand new president is sworn in.

“People just don’t trust the system,” Charles Owuiti, a manufacturing facility supervisor, stated as he waited to solid his poll in Nairobi, the road snaking by a crowded schoolyard.

But to date, the ethnic divisions that framed earlier votes have been dialed down. In the Rift Valley, the scene of earlier clashes, fewer folks than previously fled their houses fearing they could be attacked.

Instead, Kenyans streamed into polling stations throughout the nation, some within the predawn darkness, to decide on their president, in addition to parliamentarians and native leaders. Among the 4 candidates for president, most voters have been seemingly to decide on between Mr. Odinga, a 77-year-old opposition chief working for the fifth time, and Mr. Ruto, the outgoing vp and self-declared champion of Kenya’s “hustler nation” — its pissed off youth.

Credit…Mosa’Ab Elshamy/Associated Press

For others, that wasn’t a alternative value making. The electoral fee estimated voter turnout at 60 % — an enormous drop from the 80 % turnout of the 2017 election, and an indication that many Kenyans, stung by financial hardship or jaded by endemic corruption, most well-liked to remain house.

“Either way, there’s no hope,” stated Zena Atitala, an unemployed tech employee, exterior a voting station in Kibera, stated to be Africa’s largest slum, on the outskirts of Nairobi. “Of the two candidates, we are choosing the better thief.”

In the approaching days, the important query just isn’t solely who gained the race, however whether or not the loser will settle for defeat.

It can get murky.

Days earlier than the final vote, in 2017, a senior electoral official, Chris Msando, was discovered useless, his tortured physique strewn in a distant forest exterior Nairobi. His girlfriend, Carol Ngumbu, lay beside him. A autopsy discovered that they had been strangled.

The loss of life of Mr. Msando, who was accountable for the outcomes transmission system, instantly aroused suspicion of a hyperlink to vote rigging. Weeks later when Mr. Odinga, who misplaced the vote, challenged the lead to courtroom, he claimed the electoral fee’s server had been hacked by folks utilizing Mr. Msando’s credentials.

The election was ultimately rerun, and gained by Uhuru Kenyatta, the outgoing president. The killings of Mr. Msando and his accomplice have been by no means solved.

Credit…Brian Inganga/Associated Press

But the nadir of Kenyan elections was in 2007, when a dispute over the outcomes degenerated right into a storm of electoral violence that killed over 1,200 folks and, many feared, may have tipped the nation right into a civil struggle.

After that disaster, Kenyans in 2010 adopted a brand new structure that devolved some powers to the native degree and helped stabilize a democratic system that, for all its flaws, is at present thought of among the many strongest within the area.

In Tuesday’s election, unofficial outcomes flowed in at evening. The election fee posted tallies from polling stations to its web site as they grew to become out there, permitting newspapers, political events and different teams to compile unofficial outcomes.

The successful candidate wants over 50 % of the vote, in addition to one quarter of vote in 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties. Failure to fulfill that bar means a runoff inside 30 days.

But given how shut the race has been, the most probably state of affairs is a authorized problem, say analysts. Any citizen or group can problem the preliminary lead to courtroom inside seven days. Many Kenyans hope it doesn’t go any additional than that.

Unofficial outcomes flowed in on Tuesday evening. The election fee posted tallies from polling stations to its web site as they grew to become out there, permitting newspapers, political events and different teams to compile unofficial outcomes.

The successful candidate wants over 50 % of the vote, in addition to one quarter of the vote in 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties. Failure to fulfill that bar means a runoff inside 30 days.

But given how shut the race has been, the most probably state of affairs is a authorized problem, analysts say. Any citizen or group can problem the preliminary lead to courtroom inside seven days. Many Kenyans hope it doesn’t go any additional than that.

Credit…Brian Inganga/Associated Press

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