Kenyan president is declared winner of troubled election

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta holds the certificate of President-Elect of the Republic of Kenya after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Kenyan president is declared winner of troubled election

NAIROBI, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday was declared the overwhelming winner of a rerun election boycotted by Kenya’s main opposition leader, collecting 98 percent of the vote but also exposing the divisions roiling this East African country.
While Kenyatta’s backers celebrated his re-election, angry supporters of his rival, Raila Odinga, skirmished with police in Nairobi slums and burned tires in Kisumu, one of the opposition strongholds in western Kenya.
Kenya’s election commission said the turnout of registered voters in the Oct. 26 election was about 40 percent, compared with roughly twice that in August balloting that was nullified by the Supreme Court because of what it called “irregularities and illegalities.”
The rerun was marred by deadly clashes between police and Odinga supporters in the days that followed.
Kenyatta said he expected Odinga followers to mount new legal challenges, indicating the long saga that has left many Kenyans weary of conflict and has hurt business in East Africa’s economic hub is not over.
“My victory today was just part of a process that is likely to once again be subjected to a constitutional test through our courts,” Kenyatta said at the election commission headquarters after results were announced that gave him a second term. “I will submit to this constitutional path.”
Kenyatta said he would consider dialogue with the opposition after the outcome of any court proceedings. He also described his victory as a validation of his win in August, saying the 7.5 million votes that he received this time amounted to 90 percent of what he got earlier.
Odinga, who dismissed the repeat election as a sham and told his supporters not to participate, remained on the ballot and still got 73,000 votes, or just under 1 percent. In August, he received 45 percent to Kenyatta’s 54 percent.
At least nine people have died in violence since the rerun election. Some were shot by police; several died in fighting between Kenya’s different ethnic groups, highlighting the loyalties that drive Kenyan politics. Mobs have also looted shops and burned property in some areas.
Late Monday, crowds in the Nairobi slums of Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware — areas where Odinga has strong support — confronted police, set fires and blocked roads. Security forces used tear gas.
Tires were set ablaze in the western town of Kisumu.
“It was not an election that involved everyone,” said Peter Musundi, a Kawangware resident. He called the vote as a “nomination exercise” for the ruling Jubilee party.
Some Kenyatta backers celebrated his victory with song and dance.
“We wait for Kenya to move forward,” said supporter Ann Njoki, speaking near the election commission headquarters.
Voting did not take place in two dozen of Kenya’s 290 constituencies due to opposition protests, although the election commission cited an election law that says final results can be announced if the outcome is not affected by the tally in areas that didn’t vote.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the election commission, said before the Oct. 26 vote that he could not guarantee its credibility. Before announcing the results, however, he said he was confident it was a “free, fair and credible election.”
Odinga has said he will form a “resistance” movement to oppose the government, which has in turn accused opposition leaders of fomenting violence with incendiary rhetoric. He also said he wants another election to be held.
Odinga, who is from the Luo ethnic group, and Kenyatta, who is a Kikuyu, also faced off in a 2013 election similarly marred by allegations of vote-rigging. The opposition leader also ran unsuccessfully in 2007, and ethnic-fueled animosity after that vote killed more than 1,000 people and forced 600,000 from their homes.
Most of Kenya has been peaceful during the political standoff that has transfixed the nation since the August election; human rights groups say dozens of people were killed by police in unrest following the earlier vote.
US Ambassador Robert F. Godec said Washington is deeply concerned by the recent violence and urged Kenyans to engage in dialogue “to resolve the deep divisions that the electoral process has exacerbated.”
Amnesty International alleged that police used “unlawful force” against opposition supporters and bystanders after the rerun election. The human rights group cited cases of “police brutality” as well as violence and intimidation by backers of both candidates.
In his victory speech, Kenyatta appealed for unity. Standing at a podium, he drew laughter with a reference to his speech after his August election win.
“I’ve been here before,” he said. “Hopefully, this is for the last time.”


India’s Election Commission rejects ballot tampering claims

Updated 22 May 2019
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India’s Election Commission rejects ballot tampering claims

  • Authorities tightened security at counting centers where the electronic voting machines have been kept in strong rooms across the country
  • The Indian elections, the world’s largest democratic exercise, ended May 19 after seven rounds of polls staggered over six weeks

NEW DELHI: India’s Election Commission rejected opposition fears of possible tampering of electronic voting machines ahead of the counting of votes Thursday that will determine the outcome of the country’s mammoth national elections.
Authorities on Wednesday tightened security at counting centers where the electronic voting machines have been kept in strong rooms across the country. The winners of most of the 542 seats up for grabs in India’s lower house of Parliament are expected to be known by Thursday evening.
The Congress and other opposition parties were stunned by mainstream TV channels’ exit poll projections on Sunday of a decisive victory for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies.
Top opposition leaders met with Election Commission officials on Tuesday after videos appeared on social media showing some electronic voting machines being moved in north Indian states. They alleged that an attempt was being made to tamper with the verdict in favor of the BJP by replacing electronic voting machines, or EVMs, in some areas.
The Election Commission rejected the allegations in a statement Tuesday.
“The visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls,” it said, explaining that the footage showed reserve, unused machines being put into storage.
The three-person body said that after the close of polls on Sunday, all voting machines used in the election were brought under security cover to designated strong rooms, which were sealed with double locks.
Since India first introduced electronic voting machines in 1998, rolling them out as the exclusive form of polling in all national and state assembly elections in 2004, glitches have been reported, but challengers’ tampering claims have never been proven.
The Indian elections, the world’s largest democratic exercise, ended May 19 after seven rounds of polls staggered over six weeks. Some 900 million people were registered to vote.