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August 22, 2017

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Kenya is waiting with bated breath to find out its next president

NAIROBI — Kenyans were Friday waiting with bated breath for the final results of a hotly contested presidential poll between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The results from 17 of the East African nation's 290 constituencies still needed to be verified by midday on Friday, said electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.

The commission was painstakingly comparing each result from the electronic voting system with the tallies of the paper-based forms from all polling stations.

The additional verification process was agreed upon after 72-year-old Odinga alleged that hackers had manipulated the voting system after Tuesday's polls.

"The commission has done its best to ensure a credible election," said Chebukati.

Preliminary results on Thursday had put Kenyatta at 54.2 percent of the vote and Odinga at 44.9 percent.

The electoral commission admitted that hackers had tried to access its database, but said they did not succeed.

But the opposition insisted it was in possession of alternative results, showing Odinga in the lead.

"The results published by the electoral commission are a fraud," John Mbadi, a member of Odinga's opposition coalition National Super Alliance, reiterated during a press conference on Friday.

"Our independent analysis done by our experts has shown that (Odinga) won this election square," Mbadi added.

International election observers however found few irregularities and called the vote credible.

"We expect now a sense of responsibility and leadership by all parties," the European Union said in a statement on Friday.

Eight candidates were in the running for president, but the election is a two-horse race between Kenyatta and the Odinga. Both are sons of late independence fighters: Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta and his deputy, Oginga Odinga.

Concerns remained on Friday that allegations of fraud could spark ethnically based violence in an echo of the 2007 elections, when Odinga was defeated by Mwai Kibaki. Many people believed he was rigged out of victory and 1,200 people were killed.

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