Kenya Braces for Trouble as Opposition Rejects Vote Results

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Raila Odinga, opposition leader and presidential candidate for the National Super Alliance (NASA), speaks during a news conference at his headquarters in central Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday, July 20, 2017.
Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg Kenyans are bracing themselves for trouble after the main opposition alliance said the vote-counting system had been hacked and that preliminary results from Tuesday’s elections showing President Uhuru Kenyatta has a commanding lead are “fake.
” With votes from more than 90 percent of polling stations counted, Kenyatta has 54.
4 percent support, while his main rival Raila Odinga has 44.
7 percent, according to the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission’s website.
Odinga called the results “a complete fraud” and said his alliance’s figures show he’s leading the vote.
Odinga and Kenyatta are vying to lead a country that ranks among the five biggest economies in sub-Saharan Africa, is the world’s largest exporter of black tea, and is a regional hub for companies including Google Inc.
and Coca-Cola Co.
The opposition leader’s statement raises the prospect of him challenging the final outcome of the vote -- as he’s done in the past two elections.
Election-related violence has been commonplace in Kenya since it became a multiparty democracy in 1991.
The worst turmoil occurred in the wake of a disputed 2007 vote, which Odinga lost to Mwai Kibaki, when two months of ethnic fighting left at least 1,100 people dead and forced 350,000 more to flee their homes.
Economic growth slowed to 1.
7 percent in 2008 from 7.
1 percent a year earlier.
‘Remain Calm’ “I don’t control the people, but I’ve asked them to remain calm,” Odinga told reporters in Nairobi, the capital, on Wednesday.
Kenya’s shilling reversed earlier gains to trade little changed at 103.
96 per dollar at 12:06 p.
The yield on Kenya’s $2 billion Eurobond due 2024 fell 12 basis points to 6.
The city’s normally bustling streets were largely deserted, as residents stayed home, most shops remained shut and public transportation came to a standstill.
Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party called for calm and said the provisional elections were an accurate reflection of the outcome, showing it had won over many voters.
Economic growth has averaged 5.
7 percent since he took office in 2013.
“Kenyatta’s provisional win will soothe those investors who feared a leftist shift in economic policy,” Hasnain Malik, Exotix Capital’s global head of equities research, said in an emailed note.
“But the most important issues are ahead of us: Does Odinga concede peacefully? His initial rhetoric suggests there is a risk he does not.
” — With assistance by Samuel Gebre.

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