After a tense six-day wait, Kenya yesterday knew its President-elect William Ruto, who will take over from Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as the fifth head of State.
Shortly after his declaration, congratulatory messages started trickling in among the political class in Kampala, with some using the opportunity to hit out at the government.
Ms Ann Adeke Ebaju, the Soroti District Woman MP, and the Forum for Democratic Change vice president for Eastern Uganda, was the first to draw the sword.
Mr Adeke on her Twitter handle said while other countries are making strides in organising credible elections, the Electoral Commission in Uganda has fallen below standards.
“Uganda EC, we all hope you have watched the Kenyan election. You are the most embarrassing commission in the entire region. Countries are making strides with their democracy and you are still holding kangaroo elections with your own supervisors involved in ballot staffing. Working with NRM structures yet you call yourselves an independent commission. The thunder that should strike you all should be so massive!” Ms Adeke tweeted.
Earlier on, Ms Adeke’s party thanked the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya for organising a free and fair election.
Fight for democracy
The party also said Kenyans have learnt the hard way over a period of time and that they are ready to protect their hard fought democracy.
“The FDC would like to move a vote of thanks to all Kenyans for having exhibited high levels of civic competence in the past week and by casting their votes peacefully. We also congratulate the IEBC for organising credible, free and fair elections. Kenya has not come to realise this dream in one day, it has been the interplay of transitional politics by the incumbent simply because they want to keep a bright and positive long lasting legacy as political heads,” Mr John Kikonyogo, the FDC party deputy spokesperson, said.
Equally, former presidential candidate and the leader of the National Economic Empowerment Dialogue, Mr Joseph Kabuleta, urged Ugandan politicians to borrow a leaf from Kenya.
“The truth is we can learn a lot from the Kenyan elections because they are far ahead of us. It is like putting a nursery child in a university lecture room, thinking they will learn anything. Let us start with their electoral commission, which is independent unlike ours here,”Mr Kabuleta said.
Mr Dickson Kateshumbwa, the Sheema Municipality MP, and the chairperson of Parliamentary Forum on East African Community Affairs, said the election of Mr Ruto is a welcome move and that he should use his position to champion the EAC integration.
He said Kenyans have spoken and he knows Mr Ruto as a Pan Africanist who will fit in the shoes of Uhuru Kenyatta who has led Kenya for the last 10 years.
“I congratulate the president-elect, he is a pan Africanist. I hope the results will be effected and Kenya will remain peaceful. He has been in the government as the deputy and knows how the system works, so I think he will continue with the work,” Mr Kateshumbwa said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Anita Among, also took to twitter to congratulate Mr Ruto for winning the elections. She said Uganda is ready to work with Mr Ruto.
“I Congratulate H.E Dr William Ruto upon election as 5th President of Kenya. I also congratulate the people of Kenya for successfully exercising their constitutional right to elect leaders. As members of the East African Community, we look forward to working with you,” she said.
Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze asked Mr Ruto to go and serve the people who elected him to the highest position in the country.
“Hearty congratulations to Your Excellency Dr William Ruto on getting elected as the 5th President of Kenya. Victory is even sweeter when it is hard won. Go serve Kenya and always give glory to God for making you to triumph over all the schemes planned against you,” he said.
The Prime Minister of Uganda, Ms Nabbanja Robinah, thanked the people of Kenya for remaining peaceful during the election period.
“I congratulate HE William Ruto upon being elected the 5th President of the Republic of Kenya and salute all Kenyans for peacefully exercising your democratic rights,” she tweeted.
Other leaders who congratulated Mr Ruto included Ms Rebecca Kadaga, the First Deputy Prime Minister and minister of East African Community Affairs, and Mr David Bahati, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.