Nairobi/Kisumu — On Friday, Kenya’s opposition coalition called on the election commission to give it access to its computer servers and said it would accept the results on Tuesday’s vote based on the figures recorded on them.
Provisional results show President Uhuru Kenyatta with a lead of 1.4-million votes as he vies for a second and final five-year term. Election officials say a final result was expected to be announced late on Friday afternoon.
Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, whose rejection of the 2007 presidential election result triggered widespread bloodshed, has challenged the results released so far. The opposition statement appeared to offer a possible way out of the impasse. "If they can open those servers, and we all look at them, we are prepared to accept the results of what is contained in those servers," James Orengo, chief election agent for the National Super Alliance Party opposition coalition, told reporters. He also called for other candidates and observers to be given access to the servers.
Police beefed up security on Friday. Kenyan-based diplomats called for patience, and said any complaints must be channelled through the courts, not by street protests. On Thursday, international observers gave the thumbs-up to the election, and US ambassador Robert Godec issued a statement on behalf of the diplomatic community calling for the election commission to be given time to complete its work.
The dispute has raised fears among Kenyans of ethnic and political clashes of the kind seen in 2007, when 1,200 people were killed. Kenya is the leading economy in East Africa, and any instability would be likely to ripple through the region.