The Sun News

Kenya polls: Obasanjo calls for calm as opposition kicks

•Exercise credible, transparent –Commonwealth

From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta and Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has called for calm in Kenya, following reports of violent attacks that had characterised the East African nation’s presidential election held on Tuesday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken a commanding lead but his rival, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, has rejected provisional electronic results, saying figures released so far are “fictitious” and that election systems had been hacked.

As they wait for final results to be tallied and confirmed, many Kenyans are nervous of a repeat of the clashes that killed about 1,200 people after a bitterly contested 2007 election. Provisional results released by the election commission showed Kenyatta had won 54.3 percent of votes, ahead of Odinga on 44.8 percent, a lead of 1.4 million votes with 97 percent of polling stations reported.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta by his Media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said the world and friends of Kenya were anxiously waiting for the final outcome of the results just as he expressed dismay at the skirmishes that had erupted.  He however, congratulated Kenyans for the “relative peace” witnessed during the campaigns.

He appealed for peace, noting that the allegation of hacking into the electoral system was a technical issue that should be left for a non partisan committee of experts to look into. 

His words: “The world is waiting for the final declaration of the election and the reactions.  Allegations of hacking into the electoral system have been made.  This, of course, as a technical issue must be thoroughly investigated by a non partisan committee of experts, no matter what the final declaration of the election result is. “The world is also waiting anxiously to see that peace continues to prevail after the formal declaration of the election result. Those of us who are friends of Kenya and who believe that peaceful election in Kenya, like in any other African country, is necessary to stabilise democracy in Africa and lay the foundation for strong economic development, unity and progress are also anxious.

“It will not be in the interest of anybody in Kenya to have to resort to International Criminal Court again.  We appeal for peace, non violence and dialogue as the eyes of the world is on Kenya and we can’t do better than to show that electorally, Kenya has come of age”.

Meanwhile, former Ghanaian president and Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group in Kenya, John Mahama, has described the election as credible, fair and inclusive.

In his interim statement made available to Daily Sun by the Commonwealth Election Observer Media Unit, Mahama commended Kenyans for their patience in waiting for the final results, even as he asked for continued patience as the results continued to be finalised.

Mahama said: “We have followed the whole process and wish to congratulate all on the process thus far. It is my fervent hope and expectation that the positive, peaceful and orderly atmosphere that we all experienced on August 8, 2017, will continue to prevail as we await the conclusion of this electoral process.

“We commend and congratulate Kenyan voters, the staff of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, political party agents, candidates’ agents, the media and all security personnel for their commitment to the democratic process.”

In its first assessment of the poll, the European Union’s election observer mission said it had seen no signs of “centralized or localized manipulation” of the voting process. Marietje Schaake, head of the mission, said the EU would provide an analysis of the tallying process in a later report.

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