Wanyama Chebusiri and Gabriel Gatehouse of BBC Africa are reporting that election results have begun to come in from some polling places in Kenya, where people are voting for president, parliament and senate, and county governors and members of assemblies. Observers report that people were lined up at polling stations well before they opened, and those who were in line at closing time would still be allowed to cast their ballots in what could be the country’s most important election. Early results show the two favorite presidential candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, polling well ahead of the other six. Both are confident in the results being in their favor, though many are wary that violence could continue, and even worsen, throughout the country, especially if both Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga do poorly. Kenyatta is already slated to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) next month for involvement with the violent fallout that occurred after the 2007 election.
Chebusiri and Gatehouse write:
Authorities had urged Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the 2007 ethnic and political violence that killed more than 1,000 people amid claims the poll had been rigged.
As thousands continued to queue to cast their ballots, voting was extended by up to seven hours to cope with long queues at polling stations.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) issued a notice via social media saying: “We wish to inform members of the public that all Voters on the queue by 5:00pm will be allowed to vote.”
The electoral commission said some delays were caused by a new system intended to reduce fraud, which observers hope will prevent the kind of widespread ethnic violence that followed the last poll in 2007.
Read more at BBC Africa.
This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins.