Hours before results for the presidential vote were called in the General Election, politicians allied to front runners Raila Odinga and William Ruto expressed confidence in their preferred candidate winning the poll that ended Tuesday.
As the results continued to trickle in, spokespersons and officials from the two sides spent the better part of yesterday tallying results from submissions made by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“We are sure of a first-round win. The agents are collecting and tallying all the results and we will have a final figure once we tally data from 98 per cent of the forms,” said Prof Isaiah Kindiki, Deputy Chief Agent for Raila’s presidential campaign.
A spokesperson of Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza camp said that as at midnight Wednesday, their tallies indicated a win by 54 per cent. The spokesperson also expressed confidence that the margin between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio could widen as more results came in.
The mood was a mix of anxiety and excitement in a long day that has already delivered many shocks and concession speeches.
Behind the scenes, Azimio and Kenya Kwanza parties spent a better part of Wednesday tallying their results, as misinformation campaigns were waged online regarding the slowly trickling results with each coalition seeking to go one over on their competitors.
Deputy President Ruto’s campaign seemed to have abandoned their plan to release the polling centre results through Twitter. Ruto’s digital strategist Dennis Itumbi, after initially posting polling centre results shortly after close of polls, stopped yesterday.
Economist David Ndii, part of the DP’s campaign team, said yesterday that while Kenya Kwanza had their own tallying centre, they were keen to have the public volunteer to do it to hasten the process and ease anxiety.
“We are certainly doing ours (tallying). But citizens should do theirs too. It is their election. The more the merrier,” he said.
“Candidates teams are not just tallying. We scrutinise, confirm IEBC form with our copy, document anomalies,” he added. He was confident of a Kenya Kwanza victory.
Azimio were brimming with confidence too of winning the election. Raila’s running mate Martha Karua posted on Twitter “It’s not done until it’s done”.
Executive Director of the Azimio Secretariat Raphael Tuju said they were doing their own tally and were confident of win.
“We have done our work and the rest is now up to IEBC. From our figures, we are confident that Raila will win but we will wait for official confirmation from the commission because we respect institutions,” he said.
“This is not the first time we are holding a presidential election so we are not going to act like our competitors who are excited and trying to manipulate this exercise by announcing results prematurely,” he added.
The IEBC suggested Wednesday that they wouldn’t call the election as soon as the public expected, as the forms from the polling centres streamed into the national tallying centre.
However, as respective party representatives agitated for space in the hearts, minds and imaginations of Kenyans, results posted in the IEBC portal painted a rather sobering reality for Raila and Ruto. After years of relentless campaign to Central Kenya, the voter turnout that Ruto hoped for remained a mirage. In most of the polling stations, voter turnout hardly went beyond 60 per cent.
In some polling stations, including in Mathira constituency, home to the DP’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua, the turnout was just above the national average of 65 per cent, registering a 72 per cent turnout.
Results sampled from strongholds of what was perceived to be a key support base for his election bid such as Kiharu constituency, home to are MP Ndindi Nyoro, registered a turnout of just over 60 per cent.
For instance, out of 633 registered voters who were meant to cast their votes in Gitaru Primary School, only 424 showed up. Of these, 360 voted for Ruto while 63 voted for Raila.
The numbers from central Kenya may have disappointed the Ruto camp, but the turnout in this key battle zone was worse for Raila. Hoping that his appeal to a block that had traditionally shied away from voting for him would be swayed with the naming of Martha Karua as his running mate, the Raila camp went into the election somewhat hopeful that the Narc-Kenya leader would bring in some votes from the region.
The numbers from the IEBC portal show that Karua’s entry into the Azimio fray did little to turn the once red voting zone from yellow to blue. In her polling station, Mugumo Primary School, Raila garnered a total of 528 votes while Ruto got some 911 votes.
Raila and Ruto though banked on a high voter turnout in their strongholds of Rift valley and Nyanza to propel them to State House. Now, all the candidates can do is hope the final results announced are in their favour.