The Kenyan presidential elections are still at a stalemate long after the polls have closed. Since Monday, a slow count and the legitimate nature of the votes themselves have prolonged the wait in one of Africa’s biggest economies. The situation can be likened to that of Florida in past presidential elections, most notably in 2000 in the controversy surrounding ballots. Tampered ballots have left a true winner undeclared, though a winner should be announced Friday.
Candidate Uhuru Kenyatta took an early lead on Monday. The son of the country’s founding father, Kenyatta faces allegations along with his running partner William Ruto from International Crime Court. They are said to have been involved with militia attacks during the previous election that killed over 1,000 people. Kenyan politics have seen shaky ground since the 2007 elections where an offshoot of violence resulted after incumbent Mwai Kibaki took office and robbed Raila Odigna of a win through an inaccurate ballot count. Ethnic violence against Kibaki’s people among other acts spilled much blood until a solution in the form of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act shared power between Kibaki and Odigna.
Kenyatta and Ruto both deny the charges made against them. Kenyatta also said his issues with the ICC won’t affect his ability to take the reins over Kenya. His lead and probability of making it past the first round of elections, however, falls into the fate of the sullied ballots. According to a piece by Daniel Howden of the Mail & Guardian, “If Kenyatta’s share of the vote is calculated against all ballots, including spoilt ones, it drops beneath the 50% plus one needed to win in the first round.”
Ironically, Kenyatta’s biggest rival is the prime minister of Kenya, Odigna. His nickname is Agwambo, suggesting that he is not easily predictable. Odigna has also faced his own controversial moments within the past.
But compared to the 2007 elections, the international community has said it finds this race more viable despite the problems in balloting faced.