Kenya election 2017: Vote counting under way


Votes are being counted in Kenya’s general election after a day of long queues and little trouble.

People began queuing early in the morning and even overnight to cast their votes

Some polling stations remained open after the 17:00 (14:00 GMT) deadline in areas where heavy rain and other problems had hampered voting.

Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is hoping for a second time in office, but faces a tough challenge from his long-time rival Raila Odinga.

Many fear a repeat of the violence that followed the disputed 2007 election.

More than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced.

Results are starting to come in and give a slight lead to Mr Kenyatta, but the BBC’s Tomi Oladipo says it is too early to tell which way Kenyans have voted.

To win outright, a candidate needs more than 50% of the vote, and at least 25% in 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties. If that threshold is not met, a run-off vote between the top two candidates will be triggered.

Voting for the national and local assemblies are also taking place.

Scenes from the polling station

People started queuing early to ensure they could cast their vote. Long queues could be seen, and video footage at one polling station showed people injured on the ground after an apparent stampede.

There was also the failure of some voter-identification equipment and one in four polling stations were apparently without mobile phone coverage meaning that officials would have to drive to the nearest town to send results.

There were reports that one man had been killed in clashes in there Kilifi area.

But there was one heartening moment when a woman gave birth to a baby girl as she queued in West Pokot to cast her ballot. New mother Pauline Chemanang called the circumstances of the birth a “blessing” and called her baby Kura, Swahili for “ballot”, according to local radio.

Casting his vote in his hometown of Gatundu, north of Nairobi, Mr Kenyatta said he would accept the outcome of the election.

“To my competitors, as I have always said, in the event that they lose, let us accept the will of the people. I am willing, myself, to accept the will of the people,” he said.

Opposition leader Mr Odinga cast his ballot in the Nairobi slum of Kibera.

Speaking outside the voting centre, he told his supporters: “Let’s turn out in large numbers and vote.”

Mr Odinga, 72, has run for president three times and lost each time. President Kenyatta, the 55-year-old son of Kenya’s founding president, beat him in the last election in 2013, but their rivalry is generations old – their fathers were political opponents in the 1960s.

Mr Kenyatta and his running-mate William Ruto were indicted by the International Criminal Court for their alleged roles in the bloodshed a decade ago. The case ultimately collapsed due to lack of evidence, and after key witnesses died or disappeared. BBC News

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