Sharp Journal with Agency report — Results of Kenya’s presidential election re-run started to trickle in on Friday, with early estimates of the turnout at below 35 percent, dealing a blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s hopes for a decisive second-term mandate.
With nearly all followers of opposition leader Raila Odinga heeding the veteran’s call for a boycott, Kenyatta’s victory is not in question.
Less clear is his ability to unite the east African nation, whose deep ethnic divisions have been exposed during the bloody and controversial election process and multiple court cases in the past three months.
The first election, in August, was annulled by the courts because of procedural irregularities, denying Kenyatta a simple victory over his long-term political rival.
Voting on Thursday was marred by skirmishes between police and stone-throwing opposition supporters, who prevented polling stations from opening in four pro-Odinga counties, forcing election officials to postpone the exercise by 48 hours.
The election commission said more than one in 10 polling stations failed to open. Its chairman, Wafula Chebukati, Tweeted overnight that 6.55 million ballots had been cast – just 34.5 percent of registered voters.
Around 50 people have been killed, mostly by security forces, since the original Aug. 8 vote, raising fears of sustained violence only a decade after 1,200 people were killed in serious ethnic fighting triggered by another disputed vote.
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