The electoral commission of the country on Monday said that Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has been elected as the country’s next President.
Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote. He narrowly beat veteran opposition leader and ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was contesting his fifth election.
Ruto, who won the seat on his first attempt, will be Kenya’s fifth President since independence. His party, the Kenya First coalition, has won a majority of seats in Kenya’s senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.
The election result announcement was delayed for two hours past the constitutional deadline 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 Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission vice chair Juliana Cherera was among those who disagreed with the results but did not provide any evidence of irregularities.
“We are not able to take ownership of the results that will be announced,” Juliana Cherera, the deputy chairperson of the electoral commission told a media briefing.
Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao Kanchory informed 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.
On the other hand, Ruto profusely thanked the people of Kenya for electing him as the next leader of Kenya in his first speech after being announced the winner. “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.”
Thanking his competitor and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, Ruto 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.
According to Reuters, analysts had predicted a win for Odinga, given his performance in opinion polls and the support he enjoyed from outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta. But Ruto’s populist “man-of-the-people” approach, which rejected political dynasties and played on anti-elite sentiment in the country, endeared him to voters.