Kenyatta leads in early Kenya vote count

Uhuru Kenyatta, wanted for crimes against humanity by the ICC, currently ahead in presidential part of general election.

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s deputy prime minister, is in the lead in the country’s presidential poll, taking 54 per cent of the approximately one third of votes so far tallied by the election commission.

The early count on Tuesday put Raila Odinga, outgoing prime minister, at 41 per cent of the vote and Musalia Mudavadi at eight per cent.

Kenyans voted on Monday for a president, senators, members of parliament, county governors and representatives to the newly formed county assembly

Counting began on Monday evening after a turnout of more than 12 million kept some polling stations open beyond the official time.

Kenyatta, son of the nation’s first president, is facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in inciting post-election violence that led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people in 2007.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Michael Amoah of the Africa International Affairs Programme at the London School of Economics, said: “If Kenyatta wins, there will definitely be sanctions against Kenya.”

Amoah said though Article 143 of the Kenyan constitution will guarantee Kenyatta’s immunity inside the country, it remains to be seen which countries will comply with the ICC sanctions.

“The ICC sanctions will bite Kenya economically,” regardless of who in the region, or internationally, backs them, said Amoah.

Amoah said the effects of such sanctions on a nation ranked 143 of 185 by the UN human development index could be far-reaching.

Trials are expected to start later this year at the ICC for Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto.

If they win, the president and vice president could be absent on trial for years.

Unprecedented turnout

Voters on Monday remained queued past the 14:00GMT deadline, with many having waited for more than six hours to cast thier ballot. 

The general election marks the first vote since the deadly ethnic violence that followed disputed polls in 2007.

Turnout topped 70 percent, the head of the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission said late on Monday.

“All indications are for over 70% turnout,” Ahmed Issack Hassan told journalists, saying he would announce a more accurate figure later.

Odingas’ party, the ODM, expressed its disatisfaction with certain elements regarding the conduct of the election.

Franklin Bett, a party spokesman, said that at some polling stations electoral officials had to identify voters manually, with, the party said, may have led to some ghost voters or people casting their ballot twice.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Bett said that he was “simply saying these shortfalls may have given an opportunity to people to manipulate the vote”.

“It is not necessarily that the IEBC is abetting it is that irregularity and that shortfall in functions of the IEBC may have given an opportunity to certain individuals bent on rigging,” he said.

Odinga and Kenyatta have both publicly vowed that there would be no repeat of the violence, which displaced more than 600,000 people.

Isolated violence

Around 99,000 officers were deployed to avert a repeat of the violence in 2007.

Just before the polls officially opened, police in Mombasa reported night time raids by machete-wielding gangs who ambused officers.

 Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri reports from Nairobi

At least 19 people were killed in the coastal city, including six police officers.

Sources reported that it was the work of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a secessionist group on Kenya’s coast.

Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from Kisumu, said the situation in Mombasa should not be extrapolated to the rest of the nation.

There is “a very volatile situation on the coast. Mombasa is a very, very specific situation,” he said.

The MRC has denied responsibility for the coastal violence.

In Kilifi, a gang assaulted security forces at a school which was being used as a voting centre. At least four officers were killed.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies