Still difficult in Kenya

*UPDATE* (6.45am Kenyan time)

The number of constituencies reporting has now gone up from 73 to 80, but the number of votes counted has gone down slightly. I don’t have a theory about this.


It’s still hard to work out what’s going on in Kenya, probably not helped by the fact most sensible Kenyans would be still asleep (it’s about a quarter to six in the morning).

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has given up on its malfunctioning electronic system and is having returning officers bring their manual tallies to head office in Nairobi, where they are being tabulated by constituency. But you wouldn’t know this from the IEBC’s website, which leads with a congratulatory report from an international observer group that (at least in its preliminary report) found the polls “met regional, continental and international standards for credible and transparent elections.”

The best place to look for results seems to be the Daily Nation‘s website, which currently shows Uhuru Kenyatta with a lead of more than 600,000 votes for president over rival Raila Odinga (58.4% to 38.3%). But that’s with only 73 out of 290 constituencies reporting, or about three million votes out of a total that should reach about ten million (or maybe more – nobody really knows).

In the same place, by clicking the provisional results tab, you can see how far things got before the electronic system failed. With rather more than five million votes counted, Kenyatta had a smaller but still substantial lead, 53.3% to 41.9%. Unfortunately, we seem no closer to knowing whether or not there’s a realistic chance of Odinga being able to overtake him.

There’s also no final ruling on yesterday’s dispute about whether informal votes count for the purpose of working out a first-round majority. But according to the BBC, Kenyatta’s party has accused Britain, the former colonial power, of being responsible for the unusual decision – claiming to be “deeply concerned about the shadowy, suspicious and rather animated involvement of the British High Commissioner in Kenya’s election.”

If I was a British ambassador, I think the last thing I’d want to do is lecture other countries about their electoral systems.

One thought on “Still difficult in Kenya

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