Kenya opposition slams poll 'charade', rejects plan to announce results


Kenya's opposition coalition refused to take part in the announcement of election results on Friday night, decrying the process as a "charade" after claims of massive rigging in favour of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta looked set to handily beat his rival Raila Odinga and win re-election by some 10 percentage points after a vote Tuesday which gripped the country with anxiety as the opposition alleged the electronic vote counting system was hacked and results manipulated.

The National Super Alliance (NASA) -- which believes Odinga is the rightful winner -- had earlier asked the election commission (IEBC) to hold off on announcing results until their concerns could be addressed.

However as the IEBC prepared to make its declaration top NASA leader Musalia Mudavadi said: "We are not going to be party to it, out issues have not been addressed."

"We have raised some very serious concerns, they have not responded to them. The chairman told us ... they will respond to us after the event," said Mudavadi.

Another top NASA official James Orengo denounced the counting process as "an entire charade".

"This is a disaster," he added.

Orengo also rejected calls from foreign observers to turn to the courts with their grievances.

In 2013 Odinga took his grievances to court. However in 2007 a poll many observers agreed was riddled with irregularities sparked two months of ethno-political violence that left 1,100 dead and 600,000 displaced.

"Going to court for us is not an alternative. We have been there before. It's not an alternative," said Orengo.

"Everytime an election has been stolen, the Kenyan people have stood up to make sure that changes are made to make Kenya a better place."

- Demand to see servers -

NASA has claimed both that the results were manipulated by a massive hacking attack, and that it is in possession of results being concealed on IEBC servers that show Odinga to be the righful winner.

According to the IEBC website -- whose results are being cross-checked against tallying forms from 40,883 polling stations, Kenyatta has 54 percent of the vote to Odinga's 44 percent.

While the IEBC seemed ready to announce results in a few hours, Mudavadi complained that 11,000 tallying forms had yet to be provided to verify the electronic results and said "there is still quite a lot of work to be done."

The opposition coalition also said it had picked up anomalies between the forms it had seen and the electronic results, with votes added to Kenyatta's tally and subtracted from Odinga's, while some results seemed to come from polling stations which did not exist.

The IEBC said earlier this week that a hacking attempt had been made but its system had not been compromised.

On Thursday NASA demanded that Odinga be declared president, however, it appeared to soften its tone Friday after a flood of statements from the international community calling for restraint as votes are counted.

Orengo said the alliance had asked the IEBC for access to their servers, which they claim contain the "actual" results showing Odinga to be the winner.

"We are prepared to accept the results of what is contained in those servers," said Orengo.

- 'I don't control the people' -

Opposition strongholds were calm Friday, after pockets of protests in the western city of Kisumu and Nairobi slums, where police shot two protesters dead on Wednesday.

US Ambassador Bob Godec earlier joined foreign observers in urging parties to give the IEBC space to finish its job and use legal means to deal with their grievances.

"Violence must never be an option. No Kenyan should die because of an election. Kenya's future is more important than any election. Leaders above all need to make that clear," Godec said.

Six people have died in election-related violence, including the two protesters in Nairobi.

The death toll from an attack on a tallying centre in the southeast of the country on Wednesday has risen to four, a senior police officer said. referring to the two knifemen, an IEBC clerk who succumbed to stab injuries and a civilian who was hit by a stray bullet.

Foreign observers praised a peaceful, credible voting process, but the mood quickly turned sour when Odinga rejected the results after only a few hours of counting.

Opposition protesters have set tyres on fire and barricaded roads in isolated incidents as tension ratcheted up ahead of the results.

"We do not want to see any violence in Kenya. We know the consequences of what happened in 2008 and we don't want to see a repeat of that," Odinga said, referring to fallout from the 2007 poll.

But he repeated his assertion that "I don't control anybody. People want to see justice.”


AFP

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