Kenyans prayed for peace Sunday as they waited anxiously for the final outcome of the presidential election, with the two frontrunners almost neck and neck, according to partial official results.
As of Monday morning, Deputy President William Ruto was slightly ahead of his rival Raila Odinga, data from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showed
The IEBC, which has now tallied votes from 241 of 291 of constituencies is expected to announce officials results by midday.
But a running tally at the Daily Nation newspaper, citing the official data, said Ruto had so far scored 51.12 percent of the vote, while Odinga had 48.20 percent.
Tuesday’s vote passed off largely peacefully but after previous elections sparked deadly violence and rigging claims, the IEBC is under intense pressure to deliver a clean poll and release results by Tuesday.
Riot police were deployed overnight inside the commission’s heavily guarded tallying centre in the capital Nairobi after political party agents disrupted the process, hurling rigging allegations at each other.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has accused party agents of delaying the tallying process by haranguing election workers with unnecessary questions.
More than a dozen civil society groups, trade unions as well as the Kenyan chapters of Amnesty International and Transparency International issued a statement Sunday urging calm.
“We call on all political candidates, their supporters and the public to exercise restraint. We must all avoid raising tensions that could easily trigger violence,” the 14 organisations said.
The poll pitted Odinga, a veteran opposition leader now backed by the ruling party, against Ruto, who was widely expected to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta until his boss joined hands with former foe Odinga in a dramatic shift of political allegiances.