William Samoei Arap Ruto, deputy president of Kenya since 2013, was declared winner of a keenly contested election in East Africa’s powerhouse.
Ruto won the election by a narrow margin, garnering 50.49 percent of the votes to his closest challenger Raila Odinga’s 48.85 percent.
“I stand before you despite intimidation and harassment,” Wafula Chebukati, chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said early Monday evening. “I have done my duty according to the laws of the land.”
“In accordance with the law, I … hereby declare that Ruto William Samoei has been duly elected as the president.”
Chebukati’s announcement came within an hour after his deputy Juliana Cherera led three other commissioners out of the tallying centre to proclaim their dissent elsewhere in Nairobi.
“We are not at Bomas [tallying centre] because we cannot take ownership of the results that are going to be announced,” Cherera said at a press conference before the results were made public, giving no further details.
What have the official reactions been?
“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,” Ruto said in his victory speech.
Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa have tweeted their congratulations to the president-elect.
Najib Balala, a member of Kenya’s ruling party and the country’s cabinet secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, also tweeted his congratulations on Monday evening. “It is by God’s grace and the true will of the people, you were elected President. You have the ability to transform this country for the betterment of all,” he said.
Meanwhile, former justice minister Martha Karu, who ran alongside Odinga, tweeted, “It is not over until it is over”, after the results. This has prompted speculation about a legal challenge from her team, something Odinga will be familiar with.