(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Deputy President William Ruto has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election amid dramatic scenes.
He narrowly beat his rival, Raila Odinga, taking 50.5% of the vote, according to the official results.
The announcement was delayed amid scuffles and allegations of vote-rigging by Mr Odinga’s campaign.
Four of the seven members of the electoral commission refused to endorse the result, saying it was “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,” said Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“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 said.
Mr Odinga’s party agent earlier alleged that there were “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the election.
This was the first time Mr Ruto, 55, had run for president. He has served as deputy president for 10 years, but fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Mr Odinga to succeed him.
The electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said he had done his duty despite receiving threats.
“I took an oath of office to serve this country and I have my done my duty in accordance with the constitution and the laws of the land,” he said.
“We have walked the journey of ensuring that Kenyans get a free fair and credible election. It has not been an easy journey – right now two of my commissioners and the CEO are injured.” he added.
In his speech, President-elect Ruto thanked the electoral commission for overseeing the election.
“It is a wonderful evening… all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya,” Mr Ruto said, calling Mr Chebukati a “hero”.
Mr Ruto said he wanted to be a president of all, and for the country to focus on the future.
“To those who have done many things against us, I want to tell them there’s nothing to fear. There will be no vengeance. We do not have the luxury to look back,” he added.