FOUR days after Kenya’s Presidential election on August 9, 2022, just over 26 per cent of the votes have been counted, with the opposition party leader, Raila Odinga, leading the race in the official results shown on Saturday.
Odinga had 54 per cent of the counted votes, while Deputy President William Ruto had 45 per cent, according to election results provided by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The results were displayed on a large screen at a national tallying centre in the capital, Nairobi.
Ruto and Odinga are in a tight race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has reached his two-term limit. Kenyatta fell out with Ruto after the last election and has endorsed Odinga.
The law requires that the Commission undertakes verification of the Presidential election result and declare a President-elect within seven days, but it is not immediately clear whether counting of the remaining 74 per cent can be completed over the next three days, as citizens anxiously wait.
Ruto served as a lawmaker and Minister of Agriculture before becoming Deputy President, and has styled himself as the champion of the poor, focusing on policies to tackle youth unemployment.
He has pledged to boost spending for small farmers and private businesses, as well as reform national health insurance and social security funds.
Odinga, a former Prime Minister and son of Kenya’s first vice president, is making his fifth attempt at the Presidency.
The 77-year-old politician, who had alleged that the last three elections were stolen from him, pledged to stamp out widespread graft and give a monthly stipend to the unemployed, and do universal healthcare and free education for all.
Kenya’s Kikuyu ethnic group, the nation’s most populous, has produced three of four presidents since independence from Britain in 1963, but does not have a presidential candidate in this year’s election.
However, recognising the importance of ethnic voting blocs, both front runners picked a Kikuyu vice president.
Meanwhile, at least, seven of Kenya’s 47 incoming governors are women, compared with only three in the last government, and another six have won seats in the incoming National Assembly, according to results counted so far.
Sadly, the Returning Officer for the Embakasi East constituency, Musyoka Daniel, has been reported missing while on duty at the East African School of Aviation tallying centre.
Daniel was said to have excused himself to receive a phone call, but did not return and efforts to reach him since then have not been successful.
“The Commission is deeply concerned about the unfortunate incident and calls upon the relevant security agencies to speedily investigate the matter,” the IEBC said in a statement.
Notably, Kenyans living in the diaspora were able to vote at embassies and consulates across 12 countries.
The countries are Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, South Sudan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United States.