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IT issues leave Kenya presidential election results halfway pending

Dennis Mbuvi | March 6, 2013
Issues with electronic vote results transmission have left Kenyans unclear of who is the winner of the presidential poll in more than 24 hours after close of official voting in the 2013 General Elections held Monday. Voting in stations that began voting past 6 AM was extended by the same margin of delay, while other stations also extended voting past 5 PM to accommodate those in the queue in accordance to Kenyan laws. By midnight Tuesday, only presidential results from about 10,000 polling stations of a total of about 33,400 stations had been received. The results remained largely unchanged through Tuesday leading to anxiety among Kenyans.

Issues with electronic vote results transmission have left Kenyans unclear of who is the winner of the presidential poll in more than 24 hours after close of official voting in the 2013 General Elections held Monday. Voting in stations that began voting past 6 AM was extended by the same margin of delay, while other stations also extended voting past 5 PM to accommodate those in the queue in accordance to Kenyan laws. By midnight Tuesday, only presidential results from about 10,000 polling stations of a total of about 33,400 stations had been received. The results remained largely unchanged through Tuesday leading to anxiety among Kenyans.

Early provisional results showed the two leading candidates being close, with Uhuru Kenyatta gaining 2,771,097 votes against Raila Odinga's 2,179,833 in the 5,188,355 votes received by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by end of Tuesday. Through most of the day, the two had maintained a gap of about 600,000 votes. For one to be declared a winner, they must garner 50 percent of the popular vote plus one additional vote for a simple majority, and 25 percent of the votes cast in 24 of 47 counties.

Failure to come up with a winner based on the criteria will see the top two contestants battling it in a run off on April 11th, 2013.

Provisional results posted on http://wenyenchi.co.ke/mobile/prezresults.html via the IEBC API (Application Programming Interface, which allows developers to access real time results from IEBC servers) show that Kenyatta had 48.17 percent of the popular vote against Odinga's 37.89 percent. This was after the percentages were adjusted to include 330,760 rejected (spoilt) votes and 264 disputed votes in the total percentage of votes. By Tuesday midnight, without inclusion of rejected votes, Kenyatta's percentage stood at 53.4 percent versus Odinga's 42.01 percent.

Kenya has 14.3 million registered voters for the 2013 general elections. A projected 70 percent turnout should lead to about 10 million cast votes.

Provisional results from the polls started coming in early Monday evening, though the night and Tuesday morning. A stall in transmission of results through most of Tuesday is being blamed on the failure on an electronic vote results transmission system, which has seen IEBC officers from most of the polling stations not being able to submit provisional results. It is not clear at what exact point the transmission system failed.

IEBC chairperson Isaack Hassan has promised to give results in the next 48 hours on Tuesday evening, though the commission is allowed to give final results seven days after voting. The commission further clarifies provisional results are not final, with presiding officers required to physically present final results at the national tallying station in Nairobi.

 

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