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John Kerry urges calm, convinced Kenya polls credible

He expressed confidence in the credibility of Tuesday’s polls saying everything was being done above board so far/FRANCIS MBATHA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – The Head of The Carter Centre Election Observer Mission in Kenya, John Kerry, has reiterated the commitment of the international community to continue supporting Kenya in its pursuit of democracy.

The former US Secretary of State told reporters at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) National Tallying Centre that there was need for leaders to inspire confidence among citizens even as the electoral commission continues to process presidential election results.

“The international community is going to remain committed to Kenya, its people, and democracy. It is also going to be critical for the leaders of Kenya to step up and lead in the next day to give people confidence that this process is being worked through carefully, thoughtfully and respectfully,” Kerry said Wednesday night after meeting officials of the polls agency even as verification of results got underway.

He expressed confidence in the credibility of Tuesday’s polls saying everything was being done above board so far.

“The ability of the ballots to be secured and to be able to be counted appears to be very strong and so you have forms coming in reflecting the view of the people at the polling station,” said.

“There’re is an ability here which is critical to be able to provide an appropriate, transparent, accountable counting of the ballot,” he added.

Kerry called for patience from the electorate until the process of collating the results is concluded.

He said it was critical that the IEBC is allowed enough room to discharge its mandate without being put under unnecessary pressure.

“People need to be patient and let this process work through without jumping to conclusions at this point in time. I think Kenya has an opportunity to here to show Africa and the international community an election that followed the rules and honours everybody’s vote.”

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The former US diplomat spoke as Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba indicated that 29,000 result declaration forms had been received so far from polling stations, another 30 constituency results declaration forms having been successfully submitted by 11 pm Wednesday night.

Out of the 29,000 Form 34As, Commissioner Roselyn Akombe said in the final briefing Wednesday night that 22,257 had been uploaded.

Representatives of presidential candidates spent the better part of Wednesday evening going through scanned results declaration forms sent in from polling stations across the country.

The National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya was a beehive of activity, with independent presidential candidate Japheth Kaluyu becoming the first to concede defeat, having garnered 11,250 votes at the time.

“For us to come from 11,000 to 7 million votes it is going to be a long night. Given the way the figures look, we’re going to concede and so far it looks like President Uhuru Kenyatta is going to carry the day,” Kaluyu told the press accompanied by his running mate Eliud Kariara.

“I want to thank President Kenyatta for a great race because we did not see a lot of insults or disrespect for those of us who are first timers. We’ve been accommodated all along,” he said.

Kaluyu spoke even as Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot told the media that there was no cause for alarm, urging other presidential candidates to desist from issuing alarmist remarks.

“Until IEBC declares official results, we cannot, therefore, claim anybody has won or lost and therefore there’s actually no cause for celebration or feeling cheated. IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba himself has confirmed that what is being broadcast is actually not official results yet,” he told a battery of reporters at the Bomas of Kenya, the nerve centre of the 2017 presidential election.

Opposition Chief Raila Odinga had rejected the preliminary results ranking him second, claiming he had evidence that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party gained an unlawful access to IEBC servers, tampering with results being relayed electronically, claims dismissed by the poll agency.

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