William Ruto declared Kenya’s 5th President
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has declared William Samoei Ruto the newly elected president of Kenya after winning the country’s tightly contested election.
In the declaration made by IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati at the Bomas of Kenya, Former Deputy President William Ruto who garnered 7,176,141 votes which translates to 50.49% of the total votes cast led a tight presidential race against his arch-rival Raila Odinga who garnered 6,942,930 votes which translates to 48.85%.
The other contestants; George Wajackoyah, the leader of the Roots Party got 61,969 votes (0.44%) and David Mwaure Waihiga, leader of the Agano Party got 31,987 votes which translates to 0.23% of the total votes cast.
Reports indicate that of the 22.12 million registered voters, 65% which translates to 13 million Kenyans who turned up at the 46,229 polling stations to cast their votes.
The winning candidate must get 50% of votes plus one.
55 year old Ruto becomes Kenya’s fifth President since independence, winning the seat on his first attempt.
Ruto served as deputy president for 10 years before he fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Odinga to succeed him.
During his acceptance speech on Monday, Ruto said: “It was God that brought us here…I will run a transparent, open, democratic government and I will work with the opposition to the extent that they provide oversight over my administration. I will make sure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans is not in vain; we will not let them down. I am confident that this country will come together and we can move forward as one democratic nation.”
William Ruto who heads the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance served as a lawmaker and minister for agriculture before becoming deputy president while Odinga who is a former cabinet minister and prime minister was running for president under the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) Alliance.
He comes under the impression that he will provide solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including growing debt, high food and fuel prices, and mass youth unemployment among others.
Following the historically disputed 2007 elections that were characterized by a bloody post-poll violence, which left at least 1,200 people dead and over 600,000 displaced, East Africa’s most economically advanced country and its neighbours have been awash with anxiety since Tuesday’s vote whereby some businesses closed as crowds gathered around TV sets displaying events at the tallying centre which began to verify presidential results from 291 constituencies on Thursday 11 August.
Odinga’s loss means he has lost against four of Kenya’s five presidents. In 1997 he lost to Arap Moi, in 2007 he lost to Mwai Kibaki, in 2013 and 2017 he lost to Uhuru Kenyatta, now he has lost to Ruto, who was his running mate in 2007.
Raila has always insisted that if he loses the election, he will accept the results.
According to international observers, this year’s General Election in Kenya, has been largely peaceful and “above average”, with however the lowest voter turn up in 15 years.