Kenya 2022 election results: William Ruto declared winner of presidential election

Kenya 2022 election results: William Ruto declared winner of presidential election
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Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya’s Vice President William Ruto has been elected as the country’s next president, the electoral commission said on Monday.

Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote, narrowly defeating veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was contesting his fifth election.

He will become Kenya’s fifth president since independence, winning the seat on his first try. Ruto’s party, the Kenya First Coalition, has won a majority of seats in Kenya’s Senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.

Supporters of William Ruto, Kenya's President-elect, celebrate in Eldoret on August 15, 2022.

The release of the results was delayed by more than two hours beyond the constitutional deadline, and the country’s electoral commission was split after four officials denied the results of the commission’s chairman, Wafula Chebukati.

Opposing officials held their own press conference elsewhere to dispute the official results. IEBC Deputy Chair Juliana Cherera was among those who disagreed with the findings but failed to provide evidence of irregularities.

Earlier on Monday, the coalition of Ruto’s rival Odinga also rejected the election results before they were even announced by Kenya’s Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Odinga’s chief agent, Saitabao Kanchory, told the press outside the national elections center in Nairobi that they have not yet been able to reconcile the final result with their own record.

“As soon as we see them we want to verify them, if we verify them we will be able to know and tell the Kenyan people because an unverifiable result is not a result,” Kanchory told reporters acting on the announcement waiting for the results.

Shortly after Odinga’s coalition rejected the results, the national census center briefly descended into chaos, with fighting breaking out and chairs being thrown into the building.

Ruto speaks after being declared the winner of Kenya's presidential elections at the IEBC National Tallying Center in the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, Kenya August 15, 2022.

Ruto thanked the people of Kenya for electing him as the country’s next leader in his first speech after he was announced as the winner of the election.

“There are no losers in this election. The people of Kenya won because we raised the political bar. The people of Kenya are the biggest winners,” he said

He expressed his “gratitude” to the Kenyan citizens “who refused to be placed in tribal cocoons”.

He also thanked his rival and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, saying: “We looked at issues and tried to sell an agenda to the people of Kenya during the election campaign.”

“It was God who brought us here… my team and I will ensure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans are not in vain… I will lead transparent, open, democratic government and work with the opposition to the extent in which they oversee my administration,” he added.

Reactions to the outcome of Kenya’s presidential election on Monday evening were divided. In Eldoret, live footage from Ruto’s hometown showed large crowds celebrating and cheering his victory.

But protests erupted in Kisumu, Odinga’s stronghold. Live images showed protests against the election results, burning tires and clouds of smoke in the air.

Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua as well went to twitter after the result was announced and said, “It’s not over until it’s over.”

Residents look at newspapers on display at a stall in Mathare, Nairobi, on August 12, 2022 after Kenya's general election.

Analysts had predicted a win for Odinga given his performance opinion polls and the support he enjoyed from outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

But Ruto’s populist “man-of-the-people” approach, which rejected political dynasties and played on anti-elite sentiment in the country, endeared him to voters.

He was able to transcend Kenya’s traditionally dynastic politics to defeat Odinga, the son of Kenya’s first vice president.

Ruto dubbed himself a “hustler-in-chief” during the campaign, citing his humble beginnings as a chicken seller who fought his way to the top of Kenyan politics.

Political scientist Herman Manyora told CNN before the election that “Ruto excited the youth … almost in a euphoric sense.”

Ruto, a former teacher who has a PhD in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, has vowed to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “elevate ordinary citizens” as president.

He will come under pressure to find solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including mounting debt, high food and fuel prices and mass youth unemployment.

Ruto has a long and checkered history in Kenyan politics, being tried alongside President Kenyatta in 2013 at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands on alleged crimes against humanity following deadly violence in the 2007 election. However, the charges were later dropped.

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