AFRICA. Kenya: Kenya’s electoral commission chairman has declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of the close presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga. It is a triumph for the man who shook up politics by appealing to struggling Kenyans on economic terms and not on traditional ethnic ones.
The commission said that Ruto narrowly defeated Raila Odinga, the head of the opposition party and his closest challenger, with 50.49 percent of the vote cast.
After being proclaimed the winner, the Kenyan president thanked the local media in Nairobi, the country’s capital, and pledged to run a transparent, open, democratic government and cooperate with the opposition to the extent that they provide oversight of his administration.
“It was God that brought us here. My team and I will make sure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans are not in vain. There are no losers. The people of Kenya have won because we raised the political bar. There is no looking back. We are looking at the future. We need all hands on deck to move forward,” Ruto said in his victory speech.
Saitabao Kanchory, the chief agent for Odinga, voiced his dissatisfaction with the result as he has not yet compared it to his team’s count.
It has also been confirmed that four members of the electoral commission declined to endorse the final results, claiming they 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,” IEBC’s Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera said.
“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 added.
About William Ruto
Ruto was born in Sambut village in December 1966, into a lush backwater about 12 miles northwest of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County. He raised sheep and cows, hunted rabbits with friends, and attended school barefooted.
In 1997, Ruto challenged Reuben Chesire for the parliamentary seat of the Eldoret North constituency. Chesire had been a lawmaker, a powerful leader in the ruling party, and a political stalwart of then-president Daniel Arap Moi. But, Ruto took a gamble and rallied his friends to crisscross the constituency on his behalf and won.
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