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Kenya govt defends low turnout in 'chaotic' repeat polls

Kenya govt defends low turnout in 'chaotic' repeat polls

Kenya

The Kenyan government says president Uhuru Kenyatta will have a mandate irrespective of the turnout in the chaotic October 26 presidential election re-run.

Speaking to the U.S. broadcaster, CNN, Kenya’s Communications Secretary, Manoah Esipisu, said initial figures from the poll showed that Kenyatta was not too far from the number of votes that won his the cancelled first round held in August 8.

“In repeat elections the turn out is usually low, you’ve just seen that in Romania this year, 36%; you’ve seen that in Kosovo (41%), you’ve seen in the European Parliament (41%).

In repeat elections the turn out is usually low, you've just seen that in Romania this year, 36%; you've seen that in Kosovo (41%), you've seen in the European Parliament (41%).

“And those elections I have referred to (they) did not have violence and intimidation. They did not have a boycott and they did not have the type of capricious weather that we have seen in the last two days.”

Initial turnout figures as at close of day on Friday indicated that only about 34.5% of voters had turned out to vote. That situation called into question the legitimacy of the process.

The poll was boycotted by main opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition led by former Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga. Despite telling his supporters to stay at home and pray on the day of the vote, they engaged the security forces in running battles in opposition strongholds. He has described the process as a sham and called for dialogue and fresh polls in 90 days.

Deaths and injuries were reported in the clashes leading the electoral body to postpone polls in four counties. Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Homa Bay counties were supposed to vote today but that process was indefinitely postponed citing security concerns.

Kenyatta has taken a wide lead with Odinga placing second despite announcing a pullout because of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) failure to undertake key reforms before the repeat polls.

The need for a repeat poll was because the Supreme Court on September 1 annulled the August 8 process upon a petition by NASA. The court ordered a re-run in 60 days but NASA wanted it postponed to allow the IEBC to carry out necessary reforms ordered by the court.

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