After six days of waiting and calm, despite palpable impatience, outgoing Vice President William Ruto was declared the winner of the August 9 election on Monday August 15 with 50.49% of the vote against 48.85% – a gap of around 230,000 ballots – for his main rival, Raila Odinga.
Ruto had made purchasing power his hobbyhorse, promising jobs when three out of ten people live in extreme poverty in a country hit by the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and where inflation has exploded.
Raila Odinga rejected these results. “What we witnessed yesterday is a parody and an obvious contempt for the Constitution, ”said this veteran politician, who, at 77, was running for the fifth time. In 2013 and 2017, he had already challenged the results before the Supreme Court, which had invalidated the ballot this past year. “We will pursue all legal and constitutional options available to us. We will do so in view of the many flaws in the elections”, he declared in his first speech since the announcement of his defeat, denouncing the role played, according to him, by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC), marked by internal divisions.
As soon as the results were given by an Electoral Commission under high pressure, supporters of Raila Odinga let their disappointment explode. Demonstrations have rocked several popular areas of the capital Nairobi, such as Mathare, Kayole and Kibera. Tires were set on fire to block streets in this slum loyal to Odinga, an opposition figure to whom outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta had given his support for this presidential election.
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In Kisumu (west), another stronghold of Odinga, anger took the form of barricades and stone throwing, shops were looted and police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
President-elect Ruto, for his part, promised on Monday evening that he would work with “all them political leaders.
“Refrain from all violence”
Several African countries, including neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, Rwanda and Guinea-Bissau, have already congratulated Ruto. For its part, the United States Embassy in Kenya congratulated “the Kenyan people for exercising their right to vote in the August 9 elections” in which the 22.1 million registered voters also had to choose their parliamentarians. and their local elected officials.
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Spectacular turn of events
The Independent Commission, although hailed by international and local observers for its management on polling day, once again finds itself under fire from critics. A dramatic turn of events caused trouble on Monday.
A few minutes before its president announced the results of the presidential election, four of its seven members dissociated themselves from the independent body, briefly explaining their position during a press conference surprised by the “opaque nature of the process”.
Any legal appeal must now be filed with the Supreme Court within seven days of the announcement of the results. The highest judicial body in the country then has 14 days to render its decision, and, in the event of cancellation of the ballot, a new election must be held within 60 days. If no one takes legal action, William Ruto will take office within two weeks at come.