March 4, 2013, midnight
Kenyans headed to the polls on Monday, March 4, 2013 to vote in general elections. Provisional results initially showed Uhuru KENYATTA of the Jubilee Coalition to be leading over his rival, current Deputy Prime Minister Raila ODINGA of the Coalition for the Restoration of Democracy (CORD).� Yet tensions rose after ODINGA’s accusations of electoral fraud. ODINGA and his supporters claimed the provisional results were inaccurate, and pushed for the reconsideration of over 300,000 “spoiled ballots.” Many of these ballots were discarded after breaching election guidelines, a problem intensified by new electoral rules. This election consisted of a series of electoral races on the same day, as decreed by the 2010 Constitution. On March 4, voters voted simultaneously for presidential, provincial and local candidates, and county senators.
Kenya’s Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) started recounting the rejected ballots, which significantly decreased KENYATTA’s share of the vote to below 50 percent, suggesting the likelihood of a runoff. Votes from ODINGA’s strongholds were added to the tally, narrowing the gap to within three percentage points.
Complicating this process is the underlying fear of election violence. In 2007, when President Mwai KIBAKI was controversially declared winner of the presidential contest, mass violence erupted between the tribes supporting President KIBAKI, and those supporting his opponent, Raila ODINGA. Currently both Uhuru KENYATTA and his running-mate William RUTO are under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their roles in inciting violence in 2007.