World: Kenya moves closer to results of tight election race

The ‘deep state’ conspiracy theory tainting Kenya’s elections

  The ‘deep state’ conspiracy theory tainting Kenya’s elections The phrase ‘deep state’ has been used to suggest a behind-the-scenes involvement of the state in the 2022 elections.Over the last couple of years, the phrase has emerged to convey the notion of a powerful shadowy cabal, not officially elected to government but, nonetheless, contorting the wishes of the people during elections and afterwards in the governance of the country.

Kenya was moving closer Monday to learning the outcome of its closely-fought presidential election after days of anxious waiting.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is under pressure to deliver a clean poll © Tony KARUMBA The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is under pressure to deliver a clean poll

Deputy President William Ruto was leading with slightly more than 51 percent of the vote against 48 percent for Raila Odinga, based on official results from more than 80 percent of constituencies, according to a tally published by the Daily Nation newspaper.

Raila Odinga (left) and William Ruto have both appealed for calm © Patrick Meinhardt Raila Odinga (left) and William Ruto have both appealed for calm

Both men had on Sunday appealed for calm as the wait for the final results of the August 9 vote dragged on.

A tense Kenya awaits results of high-stakes vote

  A tense Kenya awaits results of high-stakes vote Kenyans waited anxiously on Wednesday for the results of the country's presidential election after a largely peaceful poll, with low turnout in some areas suggesting growing frustration with the political elite. Despite the early show of enthusiasm however, turnout in some areas appeared to be weak, suggesting that for some Kenyans at least, patience with years of unfulfilled promises was running out. Even those who showed up early to vote said they were tired of electing political leaders who had done little to improve their lives.

Polling day passed off largely peacefully, but memories of vote-rigging and deadly violence in 2007-08 and 2017 still haunt Kenyans.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is under intense pressure to deliver a clean poll in a country regarded as a beacon of stability in a troubled region.

Results must be issued by Tuesday at the latest, according to Kenya's constitution.

Ruto, 55, is deputy president but is effectively running as the challenger after outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta threw his support behind his former foe Odinga, the 77-year-old veteran opposition leader making his fifth bid for the top job.

Kenyans voted in six elections, choosing a new president as well as senators, governors, lawmakers, women representatives and some 1,500 county officials.

Turnout was lower than expected at around 65 percent of Kenya's 22 million registered voters, with observers blaming disenchantment with the political elite in a country battling a severe cost of living crisis.

The IEBC had faced sharp criticism of its handling of the August 2017 poll, which in a historic first for Africa was annulled by the Supreme Court after Odinga challenged the outcome.

Dozens of people were killed in the chaos that followed the election, with police brutality blamed for the deaths.

Kenyatta went on to win the October rerun after a boycott by Odinga.

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Win or lose, why Kenya's election challenge matters .
Raila Odinga has been mocked for challenging election results but each case improves Kenya's democracy.After polls closed on 9 August, many Kenyans marvelled at how quickly results started populating an online portal run by the electoral commission - a process that had often been beset by controversy and suspect delays in previous polls. By the following morning, 80% of returns from more than 46,000 polling stations across the country had been posted.

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