About the Author: Joseph Kabiru is CAFOD’s Media and Communications Officer for the East and Horn of Africa.
It is a rainy morning in Nairobi and just like other Kenyans, I am worried, waiting to see whether Kenya’s general election will conclude peacefully.
Technical hitches mean a delay until we know whether there was a first round win for any of the eight Presidential candidates. Uncertainty leads to anxiety.
I was among the hundreds of journalists and election observers who yesterday heard the Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Isaack Hassan, promise the wait will soon be over:
“The 290 constituencies around the country have now completed tabulating their results and they are making their way to Nairobi, where they will present the final results.
“I must say we had anticipated our electronic tallying system to be 100%, but we have had challenges and have not able to deliver the provisional results in real time.
“I am aware Kenyans are getting anxious, but I urge them to remain patient as we await the final results from the returning officers.”
The chairman faced a barrage of questions about whether the country was facing a repeat of 2007, where the country descended into chaos and violence following delays in releasing presidential results. While the electoral body chair re-assured Kenyans all was well, there is cause for concern.
Gauging by the mood of political parties’ agents, the stage is set for disputes to arise from the emerging results. One area of concern is over the large number of spoiled or rejected ballots, which by Monday evening stood at 330,000.
Should these ballots be included the total number of votes cast? If so, it will significantly reduce the percentage of votes claimed by each Presidential candidate. With the constitution requiring the winner to attain more than 50% of the total votes, this could be crucial, reducing the chances of a first round winner.
The Jubilee Coalition, whose candidate Uhuru Kenyatta is leading the provisional count, has said it will not accept the inclusion of spoilt votes in tallying the final percentages. Their rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Coalition of Reform and Democracy, has also expressed concern with the way the tallying of votes has gone so far.
My hope, and that of fellow Kenyans, is that by the end of today, final results will have been declared, they are accepted by all parties, and the country remains peaceful. We continue to pray for peace.