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Former US secretary of state John Kerry has stepped into the Kenyan election controversy with an impassioned plea to opposition leader Raila Odinga to stay within the law when protesting against the results.

Official results from Tuesday’s presidential election show incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta taking about 54% of the vote, around 11 percentage points ahead of Mr Odinga, who on Wednesday alleged the elections were a “fraud” as a result of the hacking of the electoral board’s computers.

:: Violence erupts in Kenya over opposition leader’s election hacking claims

A policeman holds up a rifle after shooting at supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga in Kawangware slum in Nairobi, Kenya, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Image: A policeman holds up a rifle after shooting at supporters of opposition leader Odinga

Kenya’s election commission confirmed there had been an attempt to hack into its system but said it had failed.

The comments from Mr Kerry, who was speaking for the Carter Centre which had observers at 400 locations around the country, came ahead of a press conference called by Mr Odinga, who has refused to rule out violence if he is declared the loser.

At last three people were killed in riots in the city of Kisumu and Mathare, a Nairobi slum, after Mr Odinga claimed that the process had been rigged against him.

Video: Tensions run high with claims of irregularities in Kenya’s presidential election

Mr Kerry insisted the Carter Centre believed that whatever the electronic results being published indicated, the integrity of the process would be guaranteed because hard copies of the results from around the country were being sent to the election headquarters in Nairobi.

Kenya’s election commission said that it hoped to have all results centralised by midday on Friday and would announce a winner soon after.

:: Murdered official’s identity used to hack Kenyan election, opposition leader claims

Demonstrators protesting the election results set barricades on fire in Kisumu Video: Kenya’s opposition candidate says election has been hacked

International observers praised the handling of the election, with the European Union saying it had seen no sign of manipulation despite opposition complaints and scattered protests.

In a direct warning to Mr Odinga to act through the courts rather than to call his supporters to action, Mr Kerry said “we affirm with conviction” that Kenyan judicial process and laws made the election process accountable, “not the street”.

This warning was ignored. Later in the day, Mr Odinga’s National Super Alliance reiterated its claim that the elections had been hacked and that Mr Odinga had won with more than eight million votes.

Nasa spokesman Musalia Mudavadi said that the coalition would submit its evidence of fraud to the election board – but appealed for Kenyans to remain “calm”.

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