Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga trailed his counterpart in Kenya’s presidential race on Sunday, according to official results reported by Kenyan media.
Officially certified results reported by the Nation media group showed the leftist Odinga with 48% of the vote, with Kenyan Vice President William Ruta ahead with 51%.
Media confusion over the vote count and the slow pace of progress by the electoral commission have raised alarm in Kenya, which is East Africa’s wealthiest and most stable country but has a history of violence following disputed elections.
Nedia was unable to access the official tally of votes in the presidential race on Sunday. A live feed showing the results at the national tally center had disappeared hours earlier.
Odinga is making his fifth bid for Kenya’s presidency, but this time with the support of his former opponent and current president Uhuru Kenyatta. Four years ago, Odinga and Kenyatta put aside their differences after a bitter row following the 2017 vote, effectively ousting Kenyatta’s deputy William Ruto, who has been outspoken about his presidential ambitions.
In Odinga’s last three bids for office in 2007, 2013 and 2017, he initiated his supporters to protest the results or challenged them in court, claiming his victories were stolen. Deadly clashes followed the 2007 and 2017 elections.
Video: Kenya election results updated
Odinga, who outlined a plan to improve socio-economic welfare and said he would fight poverty, touted his years of experience in national leadership, including as prime minister.
He also promised to stamp out widespread bribery, provide a monthly stipend of 6,000 shillings (R860.47) to the unemployed and unite Kenya’s ethnic groups. Odinga also said he would manage the rising public debt and reduce borrowing. Kenya, with a 2022/2023 budget of 3.3 trillion shillings, has a deficit of 6.2% of gross domestic product, and owes China about $8 billion.
Ruta was an ally of Odinga in 2007, when a police crackdown on protesters and clashes that turned into ethnic attacks killed more than 1,000 people in post-election violence that eventually led to a new constitution to hand over power. Ruto teamed up with Kenyatta in 2013.
Video: Kenyans continue to anxiously await the results of the presidential election