NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's votes edged above 50 percent on Friday morning in the tensely contested general elections as counting still continues.
At 08:45 a.m. (0545 GMT), Uhuru Kenyatta got 4,719,270 votes, or above 50 percent, and his rival, Raila Odinga had 4,107,204 votes from 214 constituencies.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said Thursday that the results are expected to come out on Friday. IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan said it is allowed by law up to 7 days after the close of polling, meaning next Monday, to announce the results.
For an outright victory in the first round, a candidate must garner at least 50 percent plus one of all votes cast, in addition to getting at least 25 percent of the votes in 24 counties out of 47.
If there is no outright winner in the first round, the top two candidates will proceed into a run-off, where the candidate who obtains more votes becomes president.
On Friday, the United States joined the Western observers in Kenya to call on Kenyans to maintain peace, saying a peaceful outcome of the Monday's historic general elections will promote economic growth.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec also appealed to the country's political leaders to show restraint as the election results are being relayed across the entire nation. "A peaceful outcome to the election will help promote economic growth, advance reforms, and build a better future for all Kenyans," Godec said in a statement.
"We call on political leaders to live up to their public pledges to maintain peace and encourage all parties to show restraint as the election results are announced," Godec said.
"The United States encourages all Kenyans, including civil society, religious, business, and community leaders, to come together and move forward peacefully to realize the full promise of the new constitution," Godec said.
Local investors have called on Kenyans to resume work so as to avoid economic losses due to lack of productivity as Kenyans await the announcement of the presidential results.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Betty Maina also urged all companies to get back to their businesses and get the economy moving in order to realize the goals of Vision 2030.
Maina praised Kenyans for maintaining peace and encouraged all the citizens to keep up the spirit as results are being announced.
"As long as we maintain peace in the country we will boost investor confidence and get more foreign direct investment in the country," she said. "As a nation we should not be retrogressive by destroying the good environment that we have so well built. It is the collective responsibility of every citizen and resident of Kenya to maintain and promote peace within our borders."
The current slowdown is seen as likely to affect the pace of economic growth, because while consumption is going on, production has been slowed. Kenya expects to grow the economy by about 5.5 percent in 2013 according to forecast by the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's civil society organization moved to court on Friday to stop the ongoing tallying of votes for the Monday's presidential elections whose results will be declared later in the day.
Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga has appointed a three-judge bench who heard arguments from the civil society organization, the Africa Center for Open Governance earlier on Friday. Full story
NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's electoral body said on Friday that the new president of Kenya will be announced shortly.
"We want to urge everyone to embrace the outcome of the results and respect the will of the people of Kenya. Any redress should be addressed in a court of law, it has been a transparent, free and fair election," the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said on its facebook page. Full story