Patience Urged as Kenya Tallies Votes

Although early estimates show candidate Uhuru Kenyatta pulling into the lead, officials urge citizens not to jump to conclusions.

Posted: 03/05/2013 11:11 AM EST
Patience Urged as Kenya Tallies Votes

One day after voting in the country’s critical general election, Kenyans are patiently anticipating any outcome while the millions of votes are counted. Early counts show candidate Uhuru Kenyatta in the lead.

"People should be patient,” Christopher Otieno, 31, a seller of household wares, told Reuters. “In 2007, Mr. Odinga was leading against Mwai Kibaki in preliminary results, the following day when we woke up, things turned upside down and Kibaki won the elections. I believe the same thing would happen."

In 2007, allegations of vote rigging turned into widespread violence that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people.

Kenyan election officials say voter turnout for Monday’s poll topped 70 percent and despite isolated incidents of violence and incorrect ballots in four areas, the vote is being largely hailed as a success.

On Monday, five policemen were among 19 who were killed in election-related violence at the hand of the separatist Mombasa Republican Council. Gunmen also stormed two polling places in a town near the country’s border with Somalia after the polls closed, but were held off by security forces.

On Tuesday morning, officials announced that with the results from 40 percent of polling stations in, 53 percent of the votes are in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta and 42 percent came in for Raila Odinga.

"Nobody should celebrate, nobody should complain," election commission chairman Ahmed Isaac Hassan told journalists. "We therefore continue to appeal for patience from the public."

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(Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

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