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Vote count begins in tight presidential race in Kenya

Vote count begins in tight presidential race in Kenya
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As the polls close in Kenya, officials say it is too early to tell the outcome of the hotly-contested presidential election.

Voting passed off peacefully for the most part. Though one incident in Mombasa before the polls opened left 15 dead. It was reported that the machete-wielding attackers killed nine police officers, and six of the attackers themselves were killed.

Blame was placed on Kenya’s coastal separatist group, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), though they have denied involvement.

In the running is Prime Minister Raila Odinga who claimed he was cheated out of victory during the last election in 2007. This led to widespread bloodshed and the deaths of more than 1,200 people.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is also a candidate and faces charges in the International Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in orchestrating violence during the last elections. Some fear that if neither gains more than 50 percent there could be a repeat of the violent scenes five years ago.

Kenyans remained undeterred by the threat of violence and queued patiently for up to 10 hours to cast their votes.

The attacks in Mombasa have cast a cloud over the elections and left the international community concerned for the eventual outcome of the elections. The nation is a key ally in the region in the fight against militant Islamists.

Many polling stations had to close late due to technical difficulties encountered with a new online polling system. A biometric kit was introduced in a bid to counter electoral fraud and by extension avoid a repeat of the violence which ensued as a result of claims of vote rigging in 2007.