Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kenyatta takes initial lead as Kenyans await results;

Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta held an initial lead in the tensely contest general elections as Kenyans awaits the results, which, according to Kenya's electoral body, are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

By 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the 51-year Kenyatta had 53 percent of the votes cast compared 42 percent of his close rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Cord Coalition. About 42 percent of the votes cast have been counted.

The Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Isaack Hassan told journalists on Tuesday night that the Returning Officers would be required to report to the national tallying center in Nairobi with all the results, for presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, Members of Parliament, women representatives and county assembly representatives, which would then be announced to the nation.

"However, the Commission acknowledges that results for the presidential election are the most eagerly awaited. Although they are being transmitted live on our screens, there is growing concern over the slow pace at which they are being relayed," he said.

"Indeed, the Commission is aware of this delay and that it is giving rise to different speculations. At this time, the issue that all Kenyans are most interested in is the transmission and tallying of results with high expectations of knowing of who has won what position," he said.

For an outright victory in the first round, a candidate must garner at least 50 percent plus one of all votes cast, in addition to getting at least 25 percent of the votes in 24 counties out of 47.

If there is no outright winner in the first round, the top two candidates will proceed into a run-off, where the candidate who obtains more votes becomes president.

Hassan said the electoral body has been in continuous consultation with the national presidential chief agents and ICT experts from both IEBC and the political parties to share the technical challenges of the transmission system.

"The Commission is, therefore, working to sort out the server issue. We can confirm that our returning officers are expected to bring the physical results anytime now, which will lead to the final results," he said.

"What matters here is the final results and they are coming in. As per the Constitution and as explained this (Tuesday) morning, the screens will be adjusted to reflect the percentage of votes for each candidate based on total votes cast," he said.

The IEBC faced some technical hitches in the electronic transmission of the results with sources attributing them to system malfunctions.

Meanwhile, the IEBC chairman also said the commission will conduct an audit on the huge number of rejected votes in the general elections which could for a run-off.

Hassan said more than 284,000 had been rejected largely due to misplacement of ballot papers in polling boxes.

"We are concerned with the large number of spoilt ballot papers. We will have a clear count of the number of rejected ballots at end of exercise," he said, adding that preliminary investigations pointed to the many ballot papers and boxes whose colors and voters did not match.

"The spoilt votes are basically votes cast which are now rejected. They are either wrongly marked or wrong placement. There are incidents where voters cast ballots in wrong boxes," he said.

The rejected votes, according to Hassan, cut across the six ballot papers cast by voters during the election.

"We are not sure whether the large number of ballot papers and the six ballot boxes provided contributed to the large number of rejected ballots. We will conduct an audit on the same to ascertain the reasons," he said.

The March elections were the first under Kenya's new constitution which was promulgated in 2010 and which has resulted in creation of several institutional changes in a bid to decentralize government services.

Kenyans went to the polls to elect the president, members of the newly created Senate, Parliament, governors for 47 county governments, members of the regional Parliaments and representatives of youth and women.

No comments:

Post a Comment