In Kenya vote, ICC indictee takes early lead
ABOVE PHOTO: A boy stands in the street in front of a bar whose wall is plastered with electoral campaign posters, in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Election officials in Kenya transported their ballot counts to be tallied in the capital Wednesday after the preliminary electronic vote counting system broke down, while the coalition of a top presidential candidate levied charges of meddling against Britain’s High Commissioner.
(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
By Rodney Muhumuza and Tom Odula
NAIROBI, Kenya — The Kenyan presidential candidate who faces charges at the International Criminal Court took an early lead Tuesday as votes were counted the day after the country’s presidential election.
With about a third of the ballots counted, early results showed Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta ahead with 54 percent of the vote to Prime Minister Raila Odinga with 41 percent.
Isaak Hassan, the chairman of Kenya’s electoral commission, said Tuesday that results from 10,000 polling stations are in, but officials await results from 23,000 more stations.
“Nobody should celebrate, nobody should complain,” he said. “We therefore continue to appeal for patience from the public, the political parties as well as the candidates.”
Either Kenyatta or Odinga need more than 50 percent of the vote to win, otherwise the two will contend in an April run-off. The vote commission has seven days to release certified results.
Hassan said the number of so-called spoiled ballots — votes that won’t be counted for not complying with all the rules — was “quite worrying.” An American election observer working for the group Sisi ni Amani Kenya — We Are Peace Kenya — said the more than a quarter million ballots thrown out indicate voter education efforts weren’t as successful as they should have been.
Long lines formed around the country Monday. Election officials estimate that turnout was about 70 percent of 14 million registered voters. Attacks by separatists on the coast killed 19 people, and other attacks were seen near the border with Somalia, but the vast majority of the country voted in peace.
In the coastal city of Mombasa on Tuesday, three suspected members of the secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council were charged in court for the murder of four police officers during elections.
On Monday, a group of 200 separatists set a trap for police in Mombasa in the pre-dawn hours, Inspector General David Kimaiyo said. Four police were hacked to death with machetes, coast police boss Aggrey Adoli said.
The separatist group — the Mombasa Republican Council — had threatened election day attacks, Kimaiyo said. The MRC believes Kenya’s coast should be an independent country. Their cause, which is not defined by religion, is fueled by the belief that political leaders in Nairobi have taken the coast’s land for themselves, impoverishing indigenous residents.
Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was quiet Tuesday and no more violence had been reported in the country.
Kenyatta faces charges at the International Criminal Court on allegations he helped orchestrate postelection violence in 2007-08, when more than 1,000 people were killed.
The U.S. has warned of “consequences” if Kenyatta is to win, as have several European countries. Because Kenyatta is an ICC indictee, the U.S. and Europe have said they might have to limit contact with him, even if he is president.
After Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was hastily named the winner of Kenya’s 2007 vote, supporters of Odinga took to the streets in protest, a response that began two months of tribe-on-tribe attacks. In addition to the more than 1,000 deaths, more than 600,000 people were forced from their homes.
Officials have been working to ensure that level of violence does not return this election cycle. Both Kenyatta and Odinga have pledged to accept the results of a freely contested vote.
Kenyan residents appeared to approve of the electoral process so far. The election commission is giving televised press conferences and TV stations are showing the commission’s frequently updated vote tallies.
“The elections are going on well. It is better managed than the 2007 elections,” said Judith Egesa, 24, who works at a food shop in Mombasa. “We want to welcome a new era. Whoever wins the presidency, we will accept him as long he leads Kenya without tribalism and discrimination. I voted for Raila, but if Uhuru wins I have no problem provided he leads us in peace and fulfills his promises.”
+ Top Story
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was receiving medical treatment for a lung infection on Sunday after spending a second night in a hospital. There was no official update on 94-year-old Mandela's condition, described in a government statement on Saturday as "serious but stable."
It has been five years since Benjamin Todd Jealous became president and chief executive of the NAACP and, in that time, he has ushered in a new era in the nation’s oldest and most prestigious civil rights organization. Since coming to the position in May 2008, Jealous...
Sudanese government troops clashed with rebels in the conflict-wracked state of Southern Kordofan near the border with South Sudan, and each side claimed Monday it inflicted heavy losses on the other.
President Barack Obama (seated center) signed a bill effectively awarding the four young victims of the tragic 1963 Birmingham church bombing with the Congressional Gold Medal. With Alabama representatives Terri Sewell, a Democrat, and Spencer Bachus, a Republican, leading the effort...
When I told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts on May 14th that the Tea Party was "the Taliban wing of American politics", a firestorm erupted. Arguing the IRS was correct to target them for extra scrutiny, I also said, "Here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political" and therefore worthy of IRS concern.
Because of my recent piece regarding The Great Gatsby which opens this week, and the theory, according to one scholar, that Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's book was actually a black man passing for white, I'm reminded of another major summer blockbuster and the secret history behind it...
With the defeat of apartheid, a new Black leadership runs South African ministries, businesses, and schools but an abusive police force appears to have survived the cultural and social changes. Last year, five thousand complaints were lodged against the South African police...
One of Africa’s wealthiest nations, the home of Africa’s first woman billionaire, turned its bulldozers on the homes of some 5,000 people in an early morning raid close to the capital, Luanda, in an action fiercely condemned by international rights organizations.