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Election Result Briefing Descends Into Chaos: Kenya Update

(Bloomberg) -- Chaos erupted at the vote-tallying center in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, as four of the nation’s electoral commissioners held a media briefing at a separate venue, questioning the results of last week’s presidential election.

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“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of these results,” Juliana Cherera, vice chairwoman of the commission, said in televised comments. “The four of us are here and not at” the tally center “because of the opaque nature of this last phase,” Cherera said.

Gunshots rang out as supporters of presidential candidate Raila Odinga stormed the podium where the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officials were gathered before the results announcement.

Deputy President William Ruto had 51.2% and former Prime Minister Odinga 48.1% of 12.5 million votes verified and tallied by the electoral commission so far, according to data on Nairobi-based Nation Media Group’s website. The ballots came from 253 of the nation’s 291 constituencies, according to Nation’s data.

The commission estimated turnout in the Aug. 9 election at about 65% of the 22.1 million registered voters. The constitution stipulates that it must declare final results within seven days of the vote.

Provisional results collated by Nation and other local media houses Citizen Television and Standard Media Group indicate that either Ruto or Odinga could reach the 50%-plus-one-vote threshold by a razor-thin margin -- or fall just short of the mark. The outlets based their calculations on forms digitally submitted by polling stations to the IEBC.

The IEBC said it won’t publish results until it has verified the original forms. The commission’s Chairman Wafula Chebukati said on Aug. 12 that the “exercise needs to be concluded as fast as possible” and additional staff will be deployed to ensure that happens.

Besides needing to win more than half the valid votes cast, a successful presidential candidate must secure at least 25% support in half of Kenya’s 47 counties, failing which a fresh election must be held within 30 days.

Odinga’s Chief Agent Says Vote Not Transparent (4:48 p.m.)

The IEBC failed to conduct a transparent vote and the results it has released can’t be verified, according to Saitabao Kanchory, Odinga’s chief agent.

“The chairman had actually assured Kenyans he would run this process transparently, which he has not,” Kanchory said on comments broadcast on Citizen TV. “The chairman has been very evasive the whole day, he has been avoiding to meet us as agents. He has deliberately held himself incommunicado, we do not know where he is.”

The IEBC didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Kenya Stocks Gain, Shilling is Little-Changed (4:53 p.m.)

The Nairobi Securities Exchange all-share index advanced 0.1% to 147.03 by close of Monday trading, paring year-to-date decline to 11.7%. The yield on Kenya’s 2024 dollar bond added 86 basis points to 13% by 4:53 pm. in the capital, Nairobi. Kenya’s shilling was down 0.1% to 119.59 against the dollar.

Carrefour to Close Outlets Early Ahead of Final Result (3:56 p.m.)

Carrefour SA will close its stores in Kenya at 5 p.m. local time as the nation awaits the election results. The French retailer didn’t give a reason for closing early in a statement on Monday. Past elections in East Africa’s biggest economy has been marred with violence. More than 1,000 people were killed after a 2007 vote.

Supporters of Ruto and Odinga gathered at the IEBC’s national tallying center in Nairobi amid a heightened security presence. The commission was supposed to announce the result at 3 p.m. local time but delayed their release.

Odinga’s Coalition Leads Race to Win National Assembly (10:00 a.m.)

Odinga’s coalition has won 162 seats in Kenya’s 349-member National Assembly, with just four more contests to go, indicating it might clinch the majority, according to Daily Nation newspaper. Ruto’s alliance has so far got 159. There are 12 independent elected lawmakers, while political parties will nominate 12 more in proportion with the number of elected seats they got.

The National Assembly and Senate make up Kenya’s bicameral parliament. Ruto’s group won the Senate by one seat.

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