William Ruto Announced Winner of Disputed Kenyan Election
William Ruto was declared the victor of the Kenyan Presidential election on Monday, August 15th. Ruto, now president-elect, narrowly won 50,5% of the vote while his rival, Raila Odinga managed to win 48%.
The official results were announced by Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IECB). The election result was welcomed by Ruto who called for unity and promised not to seek vengeance against those who had wronged him before.
However, the election results have proved to be controversial with scuffles occurring at the official polling center after accusations of rigging.
Raila Odinga refuted the final results, claiming that they were a misrepresentation. “Our view is that the figures announced by Chebukati [electoral commission chairman] are null and void and must be quashed by a court of law,” said Odinga. “What we saw yesterday was a travesty,” he said.
Odinga called for peace, asking his supporters not to take the law into their own hands. The electoral commission was divided with the vice chairwoman of the IEBC Juliana Cherera making the claim that four of its seven commissioners rejected the announcement made as they had not signed off on it.
“Because of the opaque nature of the process … we cannot take responsibility for the results that will be announced,” said vice chairwoman Cherera.
Kenya’s presidential election was held on Tuesday, August 9th, 2022. The election saw four candidates go against each other for the prestigious position and title of President of Kenya.
Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga stood as the main candidates. 14 million people cast their votes as Kenya saw a 65% voter turnout. The election had been highly anticipated in the country for several reasons.
Kenya has a history of elections that have become divisive and violent once the results were announced. The country was eager to avoid that on this occasion.
This year’s elections were highly anticipated because of the main candidates, Ruto and Odinga. Ruto is currently deputy president to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two men forged an alliance but had a falling out during Kenyatta’s presidency.
Kenyatta did not endorse Ruto, choosing to support his longtime political rival, Raila Odinga. The Kenyatta and Odinga surnames are synonymous with Kenyan politics as Jomo Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga were the first President and Deputy President of Kenya respectively. Kenyatta and Odinga have been part and parcel of the political elite in their country while Ruto comes from more humble beginnings.
Still on William Ruto…
The Kenyan election took on a new approach with a new type of ballot paper being used as well as a new vote counting mechanism. Initially, the results were being broadcast on television by private broadcasting companies in an effort to encourage transparency.
However, there was a slight difference between the results shown on tv and those coming from the government. This caused confusion to the point where the tv stations stopped broadcasting the counted votes.
As the numbers of the election slowly trickled out, tension increased in the country. There were complaints that the vote counting and result announcement were taking too long. As more of the votes were counted, Odinga and Ruto swapped positions in the race for the presidency.
On Sunday, August 14th, Ruto allegedly led the election at 51% while Odinga sat at 48%. The winner of the election would have to get more than 50% of the vote as well as get over 25% of votes in 24 of 47 counties.
An announcement was made that the results would be announced on Monday, August 15th, causing excitement in the country. Schools had been closed since the day of the election. Businesses closed early on the 15th because they feared suffering losses in the event there were protests and demonstrations.
According to reports, traffic built up in the afternoon of that Monday because people were heading home early. The anxious wait continued as the results announcement was delayed. Ruto arrived at the Bomas Cultural Center, which is the national tallying center, to wait for the announcement of the results. His rival, Odinga, did not go to the center.
His chief election agent, Saitabao Kanchory, claimed that he had not been able to verify some of the election results so he saw no need for Odinga to make his way to the tallying center. According to reports, Kanchory alleged electoral malpractice, which is perhaps why the election result was delayed.