Aug. 9 (UPI) — Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday claimed the general election was manipulated to favor incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, sparking new protests.
In Nairobi, Kenyan security forces have increased their presence in anticipation of potentially violent protests to avoid a repeat of ethnic violence that occurred following Kenya’s 2007 election, when more than 1,200 people died.
Kenya’s citizens voted in the general election on Tuesday. The two leading candidates have been Kenyatta, who seeks a second and final term in office, and Odinga, an opposition leader who has run unsuccessfully three other times.
Following the release of preliminary results, Odinga rejected the tally, which showed Kenyatta leading Odinga. Kenyatta had 54.3 percent of the vote, compared to Odinga’s 44.8 percent, which 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Odinga has demanded that Kenya’s Independent Electoral And Boundaries Commission, which organized the election, present proper documentation confirming the results.
“We reject the results streamed so far and demand IEBC produces Form 34As from all polling stations before any further results are announced,” Odinga said on Twitter. “A credible process must have a dashboard showing tallies from all constituencies to add to a sum total. What is going on right now is a sham.”
Odinga said the commission-endorsed results are “unsupported by any evidence” and claimed hackers breached the commission’s database to support Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party.
Prior to Odinga’s allegation on Wednesday, the leading candidates avoided using inflammatory rhetoric that could fuel tensions ahead of the vote. Kenyan officials deployed about 180,000 security officers nationwide to ensure safety on election day Tuesday.
Odinga has called for his supporters to remain peaceful, despite his accusations.
“We know some persons gained entry into the IEBC Election Management Database & took over the mandate of Kenyans to choose leaders,” Odinga wrote. “The fraud Jubilee has perpetuated on Kenyans surpasses any level of voter theft in our country’s history. This time we caught them.”
A presidential candidate must secure 51 percent of the vote to win outright in Kenya, otherwise a run-off election is held. About 45 percent of registered voters in the country are under the age of 35.