Deputy President, William Ruto, has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election after narrowly beating his rival, Raila Odinga.
According to the official results, Mr Ruto polled 50.5% of the vote. In his speech, President-elect Ruto thanked the electoral commission for overseeing the election.
Mr Ruto revealed that he wanted to be a president of all, and for the country to focus on the future.
“… All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya. To those who have done many things against us, I want to tell them there’s nothing to fear. There will be no vengeance. We do not have the luxury to look back.”William Ruto
The announcement was delayed amid scuffles and allegations of vote-rigging by Mr Odinga’s campaign.
However, four of the seven members of the electoral commission refused to endorse the result, saying it lacked transparency. Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), stated that the Commission cannot take ownership of the result that was going to be announced because of the “opaque nature” of the last phase of the general election.
“We are going to give a comprehensive statement… and again we urge Kenyans to keep calm. There is an open door that people can go to court and the rule of law will prevail.”Juliana Cherera
Mr Odinga’s party agent earlier alleged that there were “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the election.
Meanwhile, the electoral commission chairman, Wafula Chebukati, indicated that he had done his duty despite receiving threats. He stated that he took an oath of office to serve the country and “I have done my duty in accordance with the constitution” and the laws of the land.
“We have walked the journey of ensuring that Kenyans get a free fair and credible election. It has not been an easy journey – right now two of my commissioners and the CEO are injured.”Wafula Chebukati
William Ruto’s rise to Kenya’s President-elect
This was the first time Mr Ruto, 55, had run for president. He has served as deputy president for 10 years, but fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Mr Odinga to succeed him. Having gone to primary school barefoot, wearing his first pair of shoes at the age of 15 and selling chicken and groundnuts by the roadside in rural areas of the Rift Valley, it came as no surprise that he portrayed himself as the champion of the poor as he vied for the presidency in the August 9 election.
Mr Ruto contested it under the banner of Kenya Kwanza, Swahili for Kenya First, with a promise to grow the economy. The official rate of unemployment among those aged between 18 and 34 years is nearly 40%, and the economy is not creating enough jobs to absorb the 800,000 young people joining the workforce every year.
Mr Ruto coined the phrase “Hustler nation” to refer to the young people struggling to make ends meet. He has promised a bottom-up approach to the economy, saying it will benefit the poor who are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis that has hit the world following the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.