Kenyan election officials blame presidential candidates’ agents for delayed results

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The chairman of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) accused party agents of approaching the process as a “forensic audit”, saying they were disrupting the process.

“Please don’t question the returning officers and don’t slow down the process. If we do, we won’t be able to complete this exercise,” President Wafula Chebukati said in a Friday press briefing. .

“Agents, play your part: observe, take notes, then let the process go,” he added, threatening to expel disruptive individuals.

Three days after polls closed, 99.94% of polling station results were submitted electronically, but only a small number were verified and announced by the IEBC.

The wait has heightened anxiety across the country as Kenyans anxiously await the winner of the presidential race. Provisional results compiled by major TV stations showed Raila Odinga and William Ruto were neck and neck in the race. However, with more than 13 million out of some 14 million votes tallied, broadcasters stopped updating the tally from Thursday evening.

Kenyan electoral law requires designated election officials, known as returning officers, to bring physical forms showing results from across the country to the counting center in the capital Nairobi.

The IEBC has until Monday August 15 to announce the results. The commission clung legislation which allows up to seven days (from Election Day) to announce a winner. The delay has fueled misinformation among Kenyans who are eager to know who their next president is. Some influential Kenyans posted unverified claims on social media about the conduct of the elections while announcing the victory of their favorite candidates.

The presidential contest is widely seen as a two-horse race between Vice President Ruto and veteran opposition leader Odinga, who was backed for the top job by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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