Kenya opposition declares victory

Kenya's opposition on Saturday has declared victory in the presidential election, although the electoral commission was still tallying up votes and the incumbent president closing the gap.

"Honourable Raila Odinga is therefore the winner and fourth president of the Republic of Kenya," Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) official Musalia Mudavadi said in a statement to reporters, citing his party's own tally.

Mudavadi is Odinga's is the vice-presidential candidate running on Odinga's ticket.

Two days after the general elections were held in relative calm, vote counting was still ongoing, raising suspicion among the opposition that incumbent Mwai Kibaki's camp was seeking to buy time for rigging.

"In view of the growing anxiety and restlessness in the country over the extended delay in releasing the presidential results, we now call upon the outgoing president to acknowledge and respect the will of the Kenyan people and concede defeat," Mudavadi said.

"We further call upon him to direct his officers to begin the process of a smooth transition," he added.

Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman Samuel Kivuitu said earlier on Saturday that there was no clear explanation for the delays and warned that his body might have to settle for incomplete results.

According to the ODM count communicated by Mudavadi, Odinga mustered 4,215,437 votes to Kibaki's 3,748,261, representing more than half of the ballots believed to have been cast on Thursday.

No official turnout figure has been released.

Kibaki's Party of National Unity did not immediately react to ODM's declaration of victory but had refused to concede defeat on Friday night, when Kibaki trailed Odinga in provisional media tallies by an even bigger margin. - Sapa-AFP

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