John Kerry reassures Kenyans vote was not rigged

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was confident in the "overall integrity" of the Kenyan elections and praised the country's election commission for its transparency and diligence on Thursday.

The 73-year-old politician is leading the Carter Center's mission of election observers, who released their preliminary observations a day after opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed early electronic election results had been compromised by hackers.

Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have a week to declare final results but it appears incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, who leads the Jubilee Alliance, is on track for an outright win, which requires one vote more than 50%.

"The IEBC has put in place and is thus far following a detailed process of paper ballot counting and security which, if followed through to the final steps, can give each Kenyan confidence that their vote was properly recorded and that therefore this election can appropriately certify the outcome," he said.

Kerry added that the monitors had noted "minor variances here and there" but "none that we thus far feel affected the overall integrity of the process."

"I'm not vouching for the final product because it's not over yet," Kerry said. "What I am vouching for is that there is in place a process which will allow that integrity to be measured and that can ultimately resolve disputes with respect to the question of hacking."

Odinga's complaints of election irregularities have stoked fears of aggrieved supporters taking to the streets in a scenario reminiscent of 2007's post-election violence.

Tuesday's election was a peaceful and enthusiastic affair with a huge turnout and a few minor delays and technical issues reported. But confrontations emerged on Wednesday between police and protesters in Nairobi and the western city of Kisumu, leaving at least two people dead.

Over 400 international election observers -- including officials from the U.S. and the European Union -- were deployed across the country to monitor voting, the tallying process and some of the post-election period.

Speaking at a press conference earlier on Thursday, Marietje Schaake, the head of the EU's mission, confirmed it had seen "no signs of centralized or localized manipulation" after assessing voting procedures.

Schaake emphasized that the vote count in still underway.

She added: "To date, the IEBC has demonstrated its commitment to transparency in the results process including by putting results forms online."

At a televised news conference on Wednesday, Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner who is running for president for a fourth time, flatly rejected the preliminary results as "fake."

He alleged that hackers had infiltrated the election authority's systems using the identity of Chris Msando, an election official who was tortured and murdered a week before the vote.

"What the IEBC has posted as results of the Presidential Elections is a complete fraud based on a multiplier that fraudulently gave Uhuru Kenyatta votes that were not cast," he said in a series of tweets.

"We have uncovered the fraud. Uhuru must go home. The IEBC must be fully accountable," he added.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.