Kenya election result set to be announced, with media giving Ruto a narrow lead

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  • Media: With most votes counted, deputy leader on 51-52%
  • Opposition leader Odinga, backed by Kenyatta, seen at 48%
  • The election result will be officially announced at 12:00 GMT
  • Delays since Tuesday’s election have sparked anxiety

NAIROBI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Vice President William Ruto rode a close presidential race against opposition leader Raila Odinga, official media-reported results were released on Monday, with an announcement from election officials expected in 12:00 GMT.

The electoral commission’s slow progress in Tuesday’s vote tally has fueled anxiety in East Africa’s most economically advanced country, which has recently seen violence following a disputed election.

In its latest announcement on Saturday of officially verified results with just over a quarter of the votes counted, the commission put Odinga in the lead with 54% and Ruto with 45%. However, subsequent tallies by Kenyan media groups and Reuters put Ruto at 51-52% and Odinga at 48%.

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The counting center where the announcement will be made was packed with party officials who were entertained by musicians calling for calm.

Electoral commission communications officer Purity Njeru said the declaration of the presidential winner would be made at 12:00 GMT.

The winning candidate must obtain 50% of the votes plus one.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has served his two-term limit, fell out with Ruto after the last election and this time endorsed Odinga for the presidency.

Ruto leads the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance and served as a lawmaker and agriculture minister before becoming vice president.

Odinga is running for president under the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) Alliance, which includes Kenyatta’s Jubilee party. He is a former cabinet minister and prime minister.

CHECKS AND SALES

The media reported more than three quarters of the votes counted.

In official verified results reported by the independent and private Nation Media Group, with 253 constituencies counted out of a total of 291, Ruto won 51% of the vote and Odinga 48%.

The Standard Group – also independent and private – reported Ruto in the lead, again with 51% of the vote to Odinga’s 48% and also with 253 counted constituencies.

A Reuters tally of 268 preliminary constituency-level results as of 1100 GMT on Monday showed Ruto at 52% and Odinga at 48%. Two underage candidates shared less than one percent between them.

Reuters did not include 20 forms in the count because they lacked signatures and totals, were illegible or had other problems.

The preliminary count was based on forms that were subject to revision if discrepancies were discovered during the official verification process.

The many checks and balances were designed to try to prevent the kind of rigging allegations that sparked violence after the 2007 vote, when more than 1,200 people were killed.

In 2017, after the Supreme Court overturned the result for irregularities in the electoral process, more than 100 people were killed.

Crispinus Kokonya in Eldoret, an area where Ruto has his biggest support base, said the outcome was still unclear.

“So we are now waiting for Chebukati…what he says, we will follow,” he said, referring to election commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.

Others said the wait was hurting business.

“We are losing money – it causes a lot of anxiety and anger,” said Alphonce Otieno Odhiambo, a farmer and motorbike taxi driver in Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold.

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Reporting by Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa in Nairobi, Ayenat Mersie in Kisumu and Nelson Ali in Eldoret; written by James Macharia Chege; edited by John Stonestreet and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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