Announcement of election results postponed after opposition leader took early lead.
|Several people are said to have been killed in the violence [Reuters]|
Raila Odinga, the Kenyan opposition leader, has called for the government to concede defeat or allow a recount in a presidential election, saying fraud had stripped his rival’s administration of legitimacy.
President Mwai Kibaki’s party called Odinga’s accusations on Thursday a “crime” against democracy, but said a recount would be fine because it would expose “massive rigging” by the opposition.
Odinga also appealed for calm in his first public comments since claims of vote-tampering sparked tribal clashes, hurting Kenya‘s reputation for relative stability in a volatile region.
Odinga said his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) won almost three times as many parliamentary seats as Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) in Thursday’s polls.
“This government has lost all legitimacy and cannot govern,” he said. “I wish to appeal to President Mwai Kibaki to acknowledge and respect the will of the people of Kenya and honourably concede defeat.”
PNU said it had won, and a recount would prove it. “We would still win – by a bigger margin,” a spokesman said.
Kibaki’s party said on Saturday it would wait for results provided by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).
A party spokesman said: “Kangaroo results given by any Tom, Dick or Harry deserve every contempt.”
Samuel Kivuitu. the ECK chairman, said: “How many times have we met mad people on the road saying ‘I own this shop,’ and the man has no trousers? …
In opposition strongholds hundreds of machete-wielding youths from rival tribes fought, looted and burned homes.
Police fired teargas and several people have reportedly been killed in scenes marring what foreign observers had praised as a broadly peaceful election.
He said: “They have not officially commented, but privately, they have said they are saddened at the loss of life, and frustrated at the vote counting delays that have provoked clashes.”
“We will not accept this.”
Njoroge Wanyoike, another Kikuyu resident, said: “We need security because we know they will return. They have machetes, clubs and they are in their thousands … they almost killed us.”
He also aims to enlist support of the economically powerful Kikuyus, ensure a peaceful handover and ensuring the business community that he does not hold a socialist agenda for the country.