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Kenya begins counting ballots after controversial election rerun

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Kenya begins counting ballots after controversial election rerun

Photo by Reuters

27th October 2017

By: African News Agency

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Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Friday started counting ballots a day after the presidential election rerun, which saw about six-million voters turnout, Kenya’s Daily Nation reports.

Voting came to an end on Thursday at 5pm, the closing time as provided for by law, with all voters on the queues having cast their ballots.

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However, the IEBC has pushed the polls for four Nyanza counties, where the National Super Alliance (Nasa) opposition party of Raila Odinga is popular, ahead to Saturday.

Many voters stayed away in the Nyanza counties of Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori after Odinga called on his supporters to boycott the rerun of the August 8 elections, which were annulled by the Supreme Court on the grounds of irregularities.

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Even in areas heavily populated by supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party there was lower voter turnout than during the August elections.

On Friday morning the Jubilee party was way ahead with securing votes. And the over 1.8-million voters still eligible to vote on Saturday in the Nyanza counties are not expected to change the final outcome which analysts predict will be in Kenyatta’s favour.

Even with a Kenyatta victory political commentators have questioned whether the repeat polls have positively impacted on the presidency and how the East African country’s constitution could be affected going forward – this remains to be seen in the coming weeks and months.

However, polling day was marred by a number of incidents.

Four opposition protesters were killed, a number injured, several electoral officials went missing and the destruction of ballot materials were some of the issues reported to police.

Twenty protesters were also arrested and three police officers injured.

A verbal altercation which broke out between a Jubilee MP and a Nasa MP at Nairobi’s Panafric Hotel, over the former claiming he was paying for the latter’s tea, led to a physical altercation. The Nasa MP was subsequently kicked and punched by a group of youths.

Voters were also physically prevented from going to the polls in opposition strongholds after roads were blocked with burning debris.

More unorthodox methods were also used to stop voters reaching the polling stations, including welding gates shut and setting a swarm of bees upon voters.

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