By Adebayo Michael
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has been elected as the country’s next President.
The Electoral Commission announced on Monday that Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote, narrowly defeating veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was contesting his fifth election.
He will become Kenya’s fifth President since independence, winning the seat on his first attempt. Ruto’s party, the Kenya First coalition, has won a majority of seats in Kenya’s senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.
The results announcement was delayed for more than two hours past the constitutional deadline and the country’s electoral commission was split, after four officials disowned the commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati’s results.
The opposing officials staged a press conference of their own at another venue disputing the official results. The IEBC’s vice chair Juliana Cherera was among those who disagreed with the results but provided no evidence of irregularities.
Earlier on Monday, Ruto’s rival Odinga’s coalition also rejected the election results before they had even been announced by Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao Kanchory told the press outside the national election center in Nairobi that they had not yet been able to cross check the final result with their own tally.
“Once we see them, we want to verify them, when we verify them, we will be able to know and to tell the Kenyan people, because a result that is not verifiable is not a result,” Kanchory told reporters awaiting the results announcement.
The national tallying center briefly descended into chaos shortly after Odinga’s coalition rejected the results, with fighting breaking out and chairs being thrown in the building.
Ruto speaks after being declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election, at the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya August 15, 2022.
Ruto thanked the people of Kenya for voting him as the next leader of the country in his first speech after being announced the winner of the election.
“In this election, there are no losers. The people of Kenya have won because we have raised the political bar. The people of Kenya are the biggest winners,” he said
He expressed his “gratitude” to Kenyan citizens “who refused to be boxed into tribal cocoons.”
He also thanked his competitor and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, and said: “We dwelled on issues and tried to sell an agenda to the people of Kenya during the campaign.”
“It was God that brought us here … my team and I will make sure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans is not in vain …I will run a transparent, open, democratic government and I will work with the opposition to the extent that they provide oversight over my administration,” he added. (CNN).
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