Nairobi - Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta
maintained a clear lead on Thursday as votes continue to be counted in the
critical presidential election, with almost half of estimated ballots cast so
Kenyatta's party on Wednesday criticised the inclusion of
spoiled ballots in the tally after Monday's elections, the first since 2007
when a dispute over the counting process erupted into weeks of deadly violence
that left more than 1 100 dead.
Both Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto face trial
at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity over the
As of 07:00 GMT, more than 60 hours since polls closed,
Kenyatta had at least 53% of valid votes compared to 42% for his closest rival
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, according to official results relayed by Kenyan
Leaders and officials have urged calm after hitches led an
electronic tallying system to stall, forcing the Independent Electoral and
Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to read out results delivered in person by
Partial results from almost 4.5 million votes - from a total
of 14.3 million registered voters - showed that Kenyatta had taken more than
2.4 million against almost 1.9 million for Odinga.
But Kenyatta's party has objected to the inclusion of
mountains of spoiled ballots reported during the initial electronic count,
saying their use in overall totals was motivated by a "sinister and
With the gap between the frontrunners small enough to be
overturned, the inclusion of spoiled ballots - more than 5% of votes cast so
far, according to the electronic count - has become a key controversy.
The inclusion of so many rejected ballots greatly adds to
the number of votes needed for a candidate to break the 50% threshold for a
first round win, raising the prospect of a runoff due within a month.
"The Jubilee Coalition is scandalised that sensible
Kenyans can so much as think of including condemned ballots," an official
from Kenyatta's coalition, Charity Ngilu, told reporters on Wednesday.
To win outright and avoid a second round, a candidate must
win more than half of all votes cast, according to the constitution, as well as
at least 25% of votes in more than half of all 47 counties.
IEBC chairperson Ahmed Issack Hassan has said official
results are expected on Friday, although legally the commission has until
Monday to deliver the tallies.
Helicopters and chartered planes have been sent to ferry
election officials from far-flung counties to Nairobi to deliver results, with
others coming by road.