Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto declared election winner

Published:Monday | August 15, 2022 | 10:50 AM
Supporters of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto celebrate at his party headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, August 15, 2022. Kenya’s electoral commission chairman has declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of the close presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga, a triumph for the man who shook up politics by appealing to struggling Kenyans on economic terms and not on traditional ethnic ones. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's electoral commission chairman has declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of the close presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga, a triumph for the man who shook up politics by appealing to struggling Kenyans on economic terms and not on traditional ethnic ones.

Ruto received 50.49% of the vote, the chairman said, while Odinga received 48.85%.

But chaos emerged just before the declaration when the electoral commission's vice chair and three other commissioners told journalists they could not support the “opaque nature” of the final phase of the process.

“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced,” vice chair Juliana Cherera said, without giving details.

At the declaration venue, police surged to impose calm amid shouting and scuffles before electoral commission chair Wafula Chebukati announced the official results — and said the two commissioners still there had been injured.

The sudden split in the commission came minutes after Odinga's chief agent said they could not verify the results and made allegations of “electoral offences” without giving details or evidence. Odinga didn't come to the venue for the declaration.

Now Kenyans wait to see whether Odinga will again go to court to contest the results of Tuesday's peaceful election in a country crucial to regional stability.

This is likely the final try for the 77-year-old longtime opposition figure backed this time by former rival and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, who fell out with his deputy, Ruto, years ago.

Candidates or others have seven days to file any challenge over the election results. The Supreme Court will have 14 days to rule.

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