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Kenya’s Ruto takes lead in tight presidential race

Kenya's Ruto takes lead in tight presidential race

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto is edging ahead of his main rival Raila Odinga in Kenya’s presidential election, partial official results showed Sunday, underscoring the tight race as the country anxiously awaits the final outcome.

Ruto scored 51.25 percent of the vote, reversing earlier gains for Odinga, who had 48.09 percent, according to figures from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which has tallied results from nearly 50 percent of constituencies.

Tuesday’s vote passed off largely peacefully but with previous elections sparking violence and rigging claims, the IEBC is under intense pressure to deliver a clean poll and release results by Tuesday.Riot police were deployed overnight inside the commission’s heavily-guarded tallying centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi after political party agents disrupted the process, hurling rigging allegations at each other.

The commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati on Friday accused party agents of delaying the tallying process by haranguing election workers with unnecessary questions.

The wait has left Kenyans weary, with many hoping that any disputes over the result are addressed peacefully through legal means.The poll pitted Odinga, a veteran opposition leader now backed by the ruling party, against Ruto, who was widely expected to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta until his boss joined hands with former foe Odinga in a dramatic shift of political allegiances.

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