By John Ikani
Deputy President William Ruto has won Kenya’s presidential election, according to results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said Ruto won almost 7.18 million votes (50.49 percent) against 6.94 million (48.85 percent) for his rival Raila Odinga in the August 9 vote.
It is the first time Mr Ruto, 55, would 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 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 announcement, saying the results 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,” 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.
Notwithstanding, Ruto and his supporters are already celebrating the victory that will make him the 5th President of East Africa powerhouse.
“We are here this evening to witness this momentous occasion as the people of Kenya restate what is in article one of the constitution of Kenya that all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya,” Mr Ruto said after his victory was announced.
“I want to thank God for getting us to this point, I want to thank God that today we have concluded this election.
“I know that there were predictions that I wouldn’t get to the ballot, there were predictions that we wouldn’t get here, but because there is a God in heaven we are here, and I want to in a very special way to say, and to confess, that without God we wouldn’t have been here.”