Kenyans patiently queue to vote for the Kenya's presidential election 2017

Kenyans patiently queue to vote for the Kenya’s Presidential election, 2017

It was announced on 11 August — in front of politicians, journalists and diplomats at the Bomas of Kenya, in Langata — that Uhuru Kenyatta of the ruling Jubilee Party (JP) was the declared winner of Kenya’s presidential election.

The initial results given by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) gave Kenyatta 54.27% of the vote with an 80% turnout. His opponent and standard bearer for the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, Raila Odinga (72), was recorded as receiving 44.7% of the vote in what is most likely his last race. Along with his NASA colleagues, he has rejected the results. Despite the fears of election violence — as was witnessed in 2007 with an estimated 1,400 deaths — resistance has been restricted to his strongholds of Kisumu County in the south west, and Kibera district in Nairobi.

The results are not yet final. Not all of the 34A forms — the final written and legally binding results from each polling station — have been published by IEBC, despite the legal deadline for the commission to announce the official results having passed on 15 August. Furthermore, the opposition has decided to challenge the results in the Supreme Court (see below).

European Union (EU) observers have called on the electoral commission to publish the remaining forms on its website which could number around 2,900 forms (7% of polling stations). The feeling among official and international observers is that any delays or mistakes will increase the probability of, and support for, opposition violence.

However, most domestic and international observers accept the result as broadly legitimate. According to opinion polls in the last month of the campaign Odinga had gained ground but IPSOS — the most reliable local polling company — always had Kenyatta in the lead.

The opposition’s leader Raila Odinga has made the decision to dispute Kenya’s Presidential election result in the country’s Supreme Court. This move to challenge on legal grounds will relieve many in the country as well as international observers who feared a repeat of the violence after Kenya’s Presidential election, 2007.

Odinga’s calls to his supporters to resist over the last week have met little response outside of his key support areas of Kisumu County and Nairobi’s Kibera, the latter being his own parliamentary seat up until 2013.

The police response to ad hoc demonstrations in both areas has been severe, with credible reports of random and unjustified use of tear gas, beatings, and shootings. The Kenya National Human Rights Centre, an NGO, said it had documented 24 killings since the preliminary release of results on Friday 11 August, yet the government claimed the death toll was 10. Furthermore, the Red Cross revealed that between the 8th and 14th August they had treated at least 177 injured people across the country who have been victims of police brutality or robbing. Nevertheless, resistance is likely to be short lived and ineffective.

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