Kenyans Angrily Demand Election Results

Protests, rioting and looting engulfed major cities throughout Kenya today as citizens demanded results from the country's presidential election.

In an effort to try and keep peace, representatives from the parties of the two presidential contenders met with Kenyan election officials tonight, with final results delayed until at least Sunday.

Election results have trickled out slowly since the polls closed Thursday night in the tight race between opposition leader Raila Odinga, a former political prisoner, and incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.

The Election Commission of Kenya has conducted periodic press conferences to update the results, but by this morning, Kenyans were showing signs of agitation and distrust at the amount of time it was taking.

"Why do we have parliamentary results and not presidential results?" a member of the opposition party demanded at one of the briefings.

At another, election commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu blamed the slow turnaround on a lack of reporting from provinces in Kenya's central region, a Kibaki stronghold. He said that the commission had tried contacting election officials in the region, but "their phones were turned off."

Rumors flew around Kenya that the delay was on purpose, allowing time for election officials in the region to stuff the ballot box giving Kibaki, enough votes to beat Odinga.

Kivuitu said publicly that the region's officials have until Sunday morning to report their results, or he will declare a winner with the results at hand.

Riots and looting began springing up all over Kenya, particularly in areas where Odinga is popular. Reports of ethnic clashes between Luos, Odinga's tribe, and Kikuyus, Kibaki's tribe, also surfaced.

In Kibera, Kenya's largest slum and Odinga' s constituency, houses belonging to Kikuyus were torched, and stores belonging to Kikuyus were looted in Kisumu, the largest city in Western Kenya, in an area known as Luoland.

Police are on high alert throughout the country. In Nairobi, the government has dispatched Kenya's elite police force, the General Service Unit, to patrol the city and keep order.

The international community has also called for peace. Just two days ago, international election observers praised the country for conducting the elections without violence.

Today, though, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the chief EU election observer, had a very different message.

"Everyone should remember that violence has no place in the political process," said Lambsdorff.

The most dramatic moment of the day came during the day's last briefing, when the first results from the central area were announced, cutting Odinga's lead to less than 40,000 votes. Only a few provinces remain uncounted, and those are considered Kibaki strongholds.

During the chaotic press conference James Orengo, of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement grabbed a microphone and shouted down Kiviutu as he read the latest results.

"We cannot have a rigged election," Orengo said.

Chaos erupted afterwards, with members of both political parties storming the ECK podium. After security officers calmed the situation, the press conference resumed with Kiviutu stating defiantely, "I will not be pushed. Not even by you."

Still, many Kenyans are more saddened than angered by the day's events. At one hot zone, local media filmed a police officer not dispersing teargas or shooting at the crowd, but trying to reason with them.

"This is Kenya. We've built this country together," the officer said. "Let's not let it get destroyed."

Rather than fighting, the crowd clapped.

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