On August 15, Kenya’s electoral commission announced, barring any sensational twists and turns, William Ruto’s victory in Kenya’s presidential election.
The election, held on August 9, pitted four candidates against each other. The main contention was between two coalitions, the UDA, led by the vice-president, William Ruto, self-described champion of the ‘hustlers’ (the young people who struggle with the harsh realities of the gig-economy) and the Azimio coalition, led by Raila Odinga, the historic opposition leader to Kenyatta’s 15-year rule and now a continuation of his political project.
If on the eve of the elections, turnout seemed critical, these fears proved to be well-founded. Just 65 percent of the population (or about 22 million people) would show up at the polls this round, compared with 80 percent who turned out in the last election in 2017 (https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c40rjmqdlzzt/kenya).
With almost a week to go before the vote, the counting of votes was proceeding extremely slowly and, fomented by the fake news raging on social media, many voters blamed this slowness on a hacker attack that would invalidate the election. Executives from the Election Commission, which is in charge of counting and officially giving out the winner of the election, however, have repeatedly reiterated that the systems are secure.
Another problem highlighted was the difference between the counts on the various news sites. The problem in this case would arise from the fact that each newspaper chooses the ballots to be analyzed differently, starting from different counties but always drawing from the same public portal. As Chief Electoral Officer Wafula Chebukati stated, there is no need to panic when noticing differences in the counts of the various media groups, because in the end the results will be similar: “The results come from the same public portal; the approach [of each broadcaster] is different.” Broadcasters in recent days have slowed down their analysis of votes, according to testimonies, because they were overburdened by the workload of the first few days.
Other reasons that contributed to the slow pace of polling were the stringent vote validation process, the embattled attitude of list representatives in the various constituencies, and the distance of some polling stations from the capital, where the polling is physically conducted (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-62503203).
On the good news front, however, the escalation issue seems to have gone in a good direction. Fears on the eve of the election were about the possibility of clashes, especially given what is at stake. The main polling center was literally armored, with three levels of security for access to operational areas.