Kenya: Indicted candidate Uhuru Kenyatta takes early lead

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Nairobi, March 6: Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly encouraging a local militia to carry out reprisal attacks during the blood-stained election in 2007, had an early lead on Wednesday in the crucial presidential election.

Uhuru, son of the nation's founding father Jomo Kenyatta, was ahead at 53% to 42% over rival Raila Ohinga, the prime minister, according to the election commission. A little over 40% of the ballots had been counted at the time of publishing this report. It was, however, much early to arrive at a conclusion and analysts even did not rule out the possibility of a run-off.


However, the charges against Kenyatta would complicate things in Kenyan politics if he ultimately wins the poll. His running mate William Ruto was also facing ICC charges although both have rubbished the allegations. Kenyatta said if indeed the election result went to his favour, the charges would not affect his working in the capacity of the president. In fact, the deputy prime minister said it was not an issue at all.

However, Odinga expressed concern about Kenyatta's indictment and said his opponent was planning to run a "Skype government" from the Hague, where the ICC is based.

About 70% of the 14.3 million eligible voters in the country voted in the election on Monday, hoping that the country would see a fresh era of peace. Eight contenders are in the fray.

In 2007, Kenya saw an ugly ethnic violence erupting in its soil after Odinga disputed results that announced the victory of incumbent president, Mwai Kibeki, alleging that the elections were manipulated.

Supporters of both camps clashed subsequently and over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.

The violence concluded only after a power-sharing government was formed with Kibeki as the president and Odinga as the prime minister.

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