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Losing an election not easy; Mahama to Kenyans

12 August 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta was formally declared victor of Kenya's disputed presidential election on Friday night, raising fears of a violent backlash on the streets after his rival had earlier rejected the vote as a fraud. Mr Kenyatta, in office since 2013, took 54.3% of votes, ahead of his rival Raila Odinga, with 44.7%.

The nation's top elections official, Wafula Chebukati, said the vote was carried out in a "free, fair and credible manner".

Odinga, who had previously failed to win the presidential elections three times, pointed to the rising cost of living and what he said was the mismanagement of the economy as failures of the Jubilee party's government. The electoral commission said this was "illegal and premature", and said basic mathematical errors had been made.

In 2007, tallying was halted and the incumbent president declared the victor, triggering an outcry from Odinga's camp and waves of ethnic violence that led to International Criminal Court charges against Kenyatta and his now-deputy, William Ruto. "As NASA (opposition coalition) we shall not be party to the process they are about to make", senior opposition official Musalia Mudavadi told reporters.

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At a news conference Thursday, Odinga's camp presented alternative figures showing him leading by several hundred thousand votes - but, as NPR's Eyder Peralta notes, it did not clarify where these figures were obtained.

The opposition coalition has strongly disputed the outcome of the presidential results, saying they do not represent the true verdict of Kenyans. The 72-year-old opposition leader had campaigned as a change candidate, calling himself the biblical Joshua and promising to lead Kenyans to Canaan, the promised land.

Yet it's not clear that Odinga will readily accept the outcome, which he has vehemently protested since preliminary results for Tuesday's election began portending a Kenyatta victory.

Mr John Mahama Ghana's former President has commended Kenyans for the manner in which they negotiated the elections held on August 8. "We are hoping there will be a conclusion to this today and for people to be able to go back and start earning their livelihoods because this era of suspense is very, very devastating economically". On July 31, officials announced that Msando had been tortured and killed, alarming Kenyans who feared a recurrence of political violence fueled by ethnic divisions. This, of course, as a technical issue must be thoroughly investigated by a non-partisan Committee of experts, no matter what the final declaration of the election result is.

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IEBC responded by stating that the results on their portal were provisional and the final tally would be released after validating forms 34A and 34B.

The dispute over the accuracy of the vote counting process led to sporadic incidents of violence that have left at least five people dead.

Violence broke out this week in some opposition strongholds in parts of the capital, Nairobi, and elsewhere.

The election is a test of democracy in the East African economic power.

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Losing an election not easy; Mahama to Kenyans