Kenya election: Broken electronic tally system..“shadowy” British ambassador..thousands of spoiled ballots
A broken electronic tally system, accusations of a “shadowy” British ambassador and thousands of spoiled ballots are threatening the peace that has held here since millions voted Monday for a new president.
Life in Kenya has essentially ground to a halt until votes are counted. Even though electoral officials have until Monday to deliver final results, the public is growing wary of the wait.
And with the wariness come cries of corruption.
“We suspect a lot of cooking had been going on in transmitting these figures, especially with the new gadgets,” said voter Nahemiah Amwocha, echoing widespread skepticism that seems to grow by the hour. “We want the counting repeated. We don’t trust it.”
Public opinion about how the votes are being tabulated is perhaps even more important than the outcome itself. Five years ago disputed results sparked vicious riots that lasted for weeks, leaving more than 1,200 dead and bringing the country to its knees.
This time around the crash of electronic transmitting servers Tuesday has slowed the process, with ballots now being counted by hand. Helicopters were dispatched around the country to help collect paper ballots from remote regions and transport them to Nairobi.
Adding to the confusion in the tight race, which pits Prime Minister Raila Odinga against deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, is the issue of spoiled ballots and how they will factor into the final tally.
Kenyatta was ahead in early polls but once these more than 330,000 ballots — discounted because they did not follow proper election procedure — are included as part of the total tally, it is expected to lower Kenyatta’s lead to less than the 50 per cent required to win.
Kenyatta’s team protested Wednesday afternoon, claiming the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had succumbed to foreign pressure; it accused Britain’s High Commissioner in particular.
Kenya’s allies favour an Odinga win because Kenyatta has been indicted by the International Criminal Courts for crimes against humanity for the 2007 post-election violence.
British High Commissioner Christian Turner denied the alleged interference, writing on Twitter Wednesday: “Not true that UK has position/view on rejected votes; that is decision for Kenyans & if necessary Supreme Court,” adding the hashtag, “#impartial,” and “wait-not-hate.
Schools had been scheduled to reopen Thursday but with all the uncertainty they will now remain closed until Monday.
“It’s taking too long. People have become suspicious,” said Lawrence Okoth as he waiting for a haircut and shave at Kibera’s No. 8 Barber Shop as the sun set Wednesday. “Maybe there’s something fishy going on. You never know.”
watching..waiting.. something is going wrong again..the last time this happened over one thousand died.. they dont like delays in kenya..they get edgy and suspicious..as you do..