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NAIROBI: The party of Kenyan presidential frontrunner Uhuru Kenyatta described as suspect yesterday the inclusion of a mountain of spoiled ballots in results of elections two days ago, as frustrations grew over the slow pace of the count.
Monday’s elections were the first since 2007 when a dispute over the counting process erupted into weeks of deadly violence that left more than 1,100 dead.
Leaders and election officials urged calm after hitches led the electronic tallying system to stall after votes from just over 40 percent of polling stations had been counted, giving Kenyatta 53 percent of valid votes with 42 percent to his closest rival, Raila Odinga.
With the gap small enough to be overturned, the inclusion of the large number of spoiled ballots in the count was becoming a key controversy. Spoiled ballots make up more than five percent of votes cast so far and made public.
Their inclusion was motivated by a “sinister and suspect” logic, charged an official from Kenyatta’s coalition, Charity Ngilu. “The Jubilee Coalition is scandalised that sensible Kenyans can so much as think of including condemned ballots,” she said. The inclusion of so many spoiled ballots in the count adds to the number of votes needed for a candidate to break the 50 percent threshold for a first round win.