According to official results announced by Kenyan media on Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto has taken the lead in a close presidential contest.
This comes after more riot police were deployed inside the national election tallying centre following scuffles and complaints by party agents.
As the country awaits official results from last Tuesday’s election, the altercation highlighted frayed tempers and high tensions within the national counting hall. Online, some poked fun at the commotion, noting that the rest of the country is calmly waiting for it to end.
Ruto won 51% of the vote in the presidential election, with Raila Odinga, the leader of the left-leaning opposition party, receiving 48% of the vote, according to official certified figures provided by the Nation media group.
Kenya, the richest and most stable country in East Africa, but with a history of violence following disputed elections, has been on edge due to media confusion regarding vote tallying and the slow pace of development by the electoral commission.
On Sunday, Shauntv was unable to gain access to the official vote tally in the presidential campaign. Hours before, a live feed had been available showing the results from the national tallying centre.
A commission official told Shauntv to watch the live stream to find out the final score. However, other election authorities indicated they were unable to deliver the data.
On Saturday, when little over a quarter of votes were counted, official figures showed that Odinga had received 54% of the vote and Ruto had received 45%.
The winning candidate must receive at least 51.9% of the vote. Within seven days of the vote, the commission must announce the victors.
At 1800 GMT on Sunday, a preliminary calculation by Shauntv showed Ruto with little under 52% and Odinga with 47.5% in terms of constituency-level results. Less than one percent of the vote was split between two obscure candidates.
Shauntv did not count 19 forms due to missing or invalid signatures, totals, or other information.
A final total may be revised if inconsistencies are found during official verification, although the preliminary count is based on forms that are subject to change.
More than 1,200 people were killed in unrest that broke out after claims of rigging in 2007, and more than 100 were killed in violence that broke out after allegations of rigging in 2017.
Both Odinga and Ruto want to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta, who can only serve two terms as president. Kenyatta and Ruto had a falling out during the 2016 election, and Kenyatta has since publicly endorsed Odinga for president.
Kenyatta leaves office having saddled the country with debt from costly infrastructure projects and having failed to address the systemic corruption that has eroded faith in government at all levels. Both food and fuel prices are expected to rise rapidly under the next administration.
Kenyatta’s legacy has been unpopular, even in regions where he has traditionally won with a landslide, and this is reflected in Ruto’s excellent performance.
Many eligible Kenyan voters abstained because they felt uninspired by either candidate.
On Sunday, Johnson Sakaja, a member of Ruto’s party, was elected governor of Nairobi, the richest and most populated of Kenya’s 47 counties.
Party representatives at the Bomas tallying centre have becoming increasingly upset as the close contest has lasted. At after 11 p.m. on Saturday, Raila Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao ole Kanchory seized a microphone and proclaimed, “Bomas of Kenya is a scene of crime,” before authorities cut off his transmission.
Agents from both parties fought each other, the police, and election officials, and at one point tried to drag an official outside.
Kenyans, after seeing the sights on national television, encouraged their leaders to mature.
Human rights activist Alamin Kimathi tweeted, “The irresponsible behaviour at Bomas by so-called leaders, which might swiftly ignite the country, must be called out.” “The drama needs to stop. Proceed with the plan.”