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Nairobi - Prime Minister Raila Odinga's camp on Thursday said they had evidence of vote tampering in Kenya's general elections and called for tallying to be halted, as the ballot counting was still under way.
Early results from the presidential race gave a lead to Odinga's rival, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who is to face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his alleged involvement in ethnic violence after an election in 2007.
Ballot counting is going slow owing to a massive failure of a computer system, forcing election officials to deliver ballot boxes from around the country to Nairobi where they were making the tally by hand. Polls closed on Monday night.
Isaack Hassan, head of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said any issues by politicians should be brought before a court and not handled through public statements.
“We cannot stop tallying. This is a legal process. This is the final leg of the process. If anyone has an objection there is a clear legal course under the constitution,” said Hassan.
The major discrepancy between the provisional results based on the electronic system and the results from the manual recount are in the spoiled ballots, the number of which has significantly dropped.
Hassan said this was due to a failure in the system which multiplied the number of invalid votes by a factor of eight.
The election commission said it would include invalidated ballots in its count. This would increase the overall voter pool and could make it harder for Kenyatta to pass the 50-per-cent mark and avoid a run-off in April.
With the count now showing less spoiled votes, Odinga, who is trailing by about 10 percentage points, may have fewer chances of forcing a second round.
“The results we have received have been doctored,” said Kalonzo Musyoka, Odinga's vice presidential running mate. He urged his followers to maintain the peace. “This is not a call to mass action.”
This week's general elections were the first since the post-election bloodshed of 2007-8, during which more than 1 000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Kenyatta and his vice-presidential running mate, William Ruto, are among four people indicted by the ICC for their alleged roles in orchestrating the ethnic violence. They deny the charges.
Officials close to Kenyatta have accused foreign diplomats - in particularly from former colonial power Britain - of attempting to interfere with the vote tallying and trying to influence the election commission to count the invalidated ballots.
The IEBC had initially pledged results would be released within 48 hours of polling. Hassan has since conceded that tallies will not officially come in until Friday at the earliest and may even have to wait until Monday.
Kenya is East Africa's economic powerhouse, though many of its 43 million residents still face chronic poverty. The country is marking 50 years of independence from Britain this year. - Sapa-dpa