Kenya politics: Quick View - Opposition disputes early election results

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis
Political Geography
Kenya

Event

Provisional figures from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) suggest that Uhuru Kenyatta will retain the presidency after taking a significant 55% to 45% lead over his main challenger, Raila Odinga.

Analysis

With almost 95% of the results counted, Mr Kenyatta leads Mr Odinga by 7.86m votes (54.4%) to 6.48m (44.8%), meaning that the incumbent is on course to secure a second five-year term, without the need for a run-off (which is required if no candidate crosses the 50% threshold in the first round). The provisional result, if confirmed, also means that Mr Kenyatta improved on his performance in 2013 when he beat Mr Odinga by 50.5% to 43.7%, to capture the presidency for the first time. The provisional result of the presidential poll (which is being counted first) is broadly in line with pre-election opinion polls, although an apparent swing towards Mr Odinga did not prove significant.

Mr Odinga, the candidate representing the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), has, however, dismissed the provisional results as "fake news" and claims that the IEBC's computer systems were hacked during the transmission process to manipulate the outcome. Mr Odinga links the alleged hacking to the violent murder of the IEBC's ICT boss just a week before the election. The IEBC rejects the allegations and also points out that results declared at constituency level are final (as determined by the courts and favoured by the opposition), meaning that any transmission errors will be temporary. Mr Odinga further complains of not seeing the relevant paperwork, although the IEBC says that all candidates will have access to the key forms in due course.

Election day was mostly peaceful, but Mr Odinga's rejection of the results raises fears about the potential spread of violence. However, despite some localised protests (such as in Kisumu, in Mr Odinga's heartland), we expect that the election dispute will be fought in the courts, not on the streets. This happened in 2013, when the Supreme Court, about two to three weeks after the ballot, dismissed opposition claims of vote rigging, a verdict accepted by the opposition.

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