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Kenya’s President Kenyatta Re-elected

Story from: Africa.com

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta Kenya’s incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the winner by the country’s electoral body in the concluded General Election this week.

While announcing the results, Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, said that President Kenyatta garnered 54.27 percent of the ballots cast, while his rival, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga got 44.74 percent.  The final tally put President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in the lead with a margin of over 1.4 million votes.

According to the Kenyan law, with Kenyatta receiving more than 50 percent of the votes, the country will not go into a second round of voting. The winner is also required to get 25 percent of the votes cast in at least half of all the 47 counties to avoid a runoff.

In his acceptance speech President Kenyatta called for unity among all Kenyans asking opposition supporters that he reaches out them as they all are citizens of the same republic.

“Let us all engage, dialogue and build our country together. Elections come & go, but Kenya is here to stay. Let us reach out to one another,” he said.

Congratulatory messages started streaming in from various leaders from across the region immediately Mr. Kenyatta was declared the winner. Among the first to congratulate him was Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame who was also re-elected a week ago. In his message President Kagame reiterated the need for the two to continue working together in strengthening the East African Community. Others were Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunzinza, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzania’s Opposition leader Edward Lowassa.

However, even as Mr. Kenyatta continues receiving congratulatory messages, his rival Mr. Odinga and his team rejected the results even before they were declared, calling the process a “charade”.

On Friday evening, Mr. Odinga’s coalition, the National Super Alliance refused to take part in the announcement of the election results, accusing the commission of releasing the outcome before addressing its concerns.

James OrengoJames Orengo, the coalition’s Chief Agent for the general election, termed the election process a “charade” and a “disaster”. “You do not just hold an election for the sake of it. And the election is not about announcing winners and losers,” he said. He also expressed their disappointment by International Observers including former South African President Thabo Mbeki, former Ghanaian President John Mahama and former US Secretary of State John Kerry questioning their credentials.

Various International Observers termed the election process as Free, Fair and peaceful and called upon candidates to respect the final outcome announced by the electoral body and resolve any poll disputes through legal channels.  

More than 400 international election monitors including officials from African Union, COMESA, the United States and the EU were deployed across the country to monitor voting, the tallying process and part of the post-election period.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who served as an election observer for the Carter Center, said on Thursday that while there were “little aberrations here and there,” the election was not rigged. He said the electoral commission was verifying electronic online reporting with the physical ballot forms from polling stations.

On 8th August, more than 15 million Kenyans went to the polls to elect their new president as well as legislative and gubernatorial seats. Vote counting and tallying started immediately that evening and the results started being transmitted electronically. However, that night the opposition questioned the reliability of the votes, saying hackers had interfered with the voting system.

As various Kenyans celebrate the re-election of President Kenyatta, it is still unknown what action the opposition will take after casting doubts and refusing to be part of the announcements of results.

Originally published at Africa.com

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