Kenya is getting interesting

It’s 5.20am Friday in Kenya, and still no final result from Monday’s presidential election. But with 186 out of 290 constituencies reporting, Uhuru Kenyatta’s lead is down to about 425,000 votes. Even more importantly, he only has 50.1% of the vote – against Raila Odinga’s 44.8% – so his chance of a first round victory looks slim.

That percentage is evidently calculated on the basis of valid votes, not including informals (the third candidate, Musalia Mudavadi, has 3.4%, and a range of minor candidates would have one or two per cent between them). That’s the logical way to do it, but it’s not what the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it would do on Tuesday.

If it follows through on including informal votes in the total, then it seems safe to say there’s no way Kenyatta will avoid a runoff.

Although only about two-thirds of the constituencies have reported, the vote total has already passed eight million. That suggests that the IEBC is tabulating partial constituency votes, rather than waiting for a whole constituency to come in before posting its vote. It could also be, however, that the total turnout is higher than Monday’s estimate of ten million.

Kenyatta took a strong early lead, and since then the trend has been consistently towards Odinga. It won’t be enough to give him a first round victory, and it looks unlikely to even put him ahead. But unless the trend suddenly goes into reverse, it seems it will deny Kenyatta the first round victory and force a runoff at some uncertain date.

At which point we may have to go through this whole exhausting process again.

If you’re coming to this for the first time, you might want to start with my previous reports here, here, here and here.


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