Kenyans on Friday awaited the official results of Tuesday’s disputed election as hundreds of riot police patrolled the capital, while the opposition requested access to the election commission’s servers to confirm whether alleged hacking took place.
The election commission has rejected claims by opposition leader Raila Odinga that its database was hacked and results manipulated, and that an unofficial tally confirms him as the winner. Provisional results show President Uhuru Kenyatta with a wide lead over the 72-year-old Odinga, who may be facing his last chance at the presidency after three previous unsuccessful attempts.
The vote counting and verification has been repeatedly delayed, increasing tension in the East African economic power, though the commission by law has until Tuesday to announce the results. At least three people have been shot and killed during clashes between police and opposition supporters this week.
“We plead for patience as we work through this process,” commission CEO Ezra Chiloba said Friday afternoon.
The opposition, in asking for access to the election commission’s servers, said it will accept the results even if they show Kenyatta won. The opposition wants to look at server activity on the day of the vote and the following day to confirm whether the alleged hacking took place, said an official, James Orengo.
Odinga claims that hackers infiltrated the commission’s computer system with the identity of a murdered election official and altered results to favor the 55-year-old Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president after independence from British colonial rule. On July 31, officials announced that Christopher Msando, an election official in charge of managing information technology systems, had been tortured and killed.
The election commission says there was a hacking attempt but it failed.
Kenyatta has not commented on Odinga’s allegations.
International election observers say they have seen no signs of interference with the vote. Election officials have been painstakingly trying to confirm their provisional results with checks of documents from polling stations nationwide.
Meanwhile, the government urged citizens to return to work, saying the country was safe.
Opposition supporters burned tires and blocked roads in the Nairobi slum of Kibera and in Kisumu, a city in the southwest where Odinga has strong support.
Odinga, a former prime minister, lost the 2007 election that was followed by violence fueled by ethnic tensions that killed more than 1,000 people. He also lost the 2013 vote to Kenyatta and took allegations of vote-tampering to the Supreme Court, which rejected his case.
U.S. ambassador Robert F. Godec said the work of election officials should be not be disrupted and any disputes should be dealt with through legal channels.
“No Kenyan should die because of an election,” Godec said.
Story by The Associated Press