Deputy President, William Ruto, has won Kenya’s presidential election, the Electoral Commission Chairman has said, amid dramatic scenes.
He narrowly beat his rival, Raila Odinga, taking 50.4 per cent of the vote.
The announcement was delayed amid scuffles and allegations of vote-rigging by Mr Odinga’s campaign.
Four of the seven members of the Electoral Commission refused to endorse the announcement, saying the results were “opaque”.
“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of this last phase of the general election,” said Juliana Cherera, the Vice-Chairperson of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“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,” she said.
Mr Odinga’s party agent earlier alleged that there were “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the election.
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.
William Ruto’s childhood epitomised the lives of many poor Kenyans.
He went to primary school barefoot, wearing his first pair of shoes at the age of 15. He also sold chicken and groundnuts by the roadside in rural areas of the Rift Valley.
So it comes as no surprise that he portrays himself as the champion of the poor as he vies for the presidency in election.
Mr Ruto is contesting the election 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 per cent, and the economy is not creating enough jobs to absorb the 800,000 young people joining the workforce every year.
He has therefore coined the phrase “Hustler nation” to refer to the young people struggling to make ends meet.
Mr Ruto 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. -BBC