Speed Reads

Kenya Votes

Kenya's president leads in early election returns, but rival claims hacking and 'fraud'

Kenya held national elections on Tuesday, pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, against main opposition leader Raila Odinga (pictured) and six other candidates. According to preliminary results, Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president, held a significant lead over Odinga, 72, with the other candidates barely registering. If the results hold, with Kenyatta leading 54.5 percent to Odinga's 44.6 percent, the president would win a second term outright, without a second round of voting. On Wednesday, Odinga claimed that the results had been tampered with.

"Hackers gained entry into our election database" and "created errors," Odinga said at a news conference. "You can only cheat the people for so long," he added. "The 2017 general election was a fraud." Kenyans fear a repeat of the violence a decade ago that followed a disputed election, which Odinga lost, ending in more than 1,100 Kenyans dead and 600,000 more displaced. Kenyatta's Jubilee Party called for calm and patience. Kenyatta beat Odinga in the last election, and their fathers were rivals in the 1960s.

The election itself was largely violence-free, though there were problems with cellphone service that slowed down the reporting of results to the election commission, the commission said. There was even one "heartening moment," when a woman gave birth while standing in line to vote in West Pocket, BBC News reports. "New mother Pauline Chemanang called the circumstances of the birth a 'blessing' and called her baby Kura, Swahili for 'ballot.'"