NAIROBI. – President Uhuru Kenyatta has won re-election in Kenya, defeating veteran opposition leader and longtime rival Raila Odinga in a tense contest. Kenya’s election commission declared yesterday that the 55-year-old businessman and son of the country’s founding president had received enough votes to secure a second five-year term. Kenyatta garnered 54,27 percent of the final vote, similar to what he had in a preliminary count. Odinga received 44,74 percent.
The president, in a nationally broadcast speech, said he and his opponent were not enemies.
“We are all citizens of one republic,” he said. “As with any competition, there shall always be winners and there shall be losers. But we all belong to one great nation called Kenya.”
Kenyatta said he wanted to work with the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA).
“I extend a hand of partnership knowing fully well that this country needs all of us pulling together in order for us to succeed,” he said.
The president told his countrymen there was no need for violence.
The nation’s top elections official, Wafula Chebukati, said the vote was carried out in a “free, fair and credible manner”.
Odinga, a 72-year-old former political prisoner who has campaigned for the presidency four times, is refusing to accept the results, claiming the vote was hacked.
Speaking before the declaration, Musalia Mudavadi, co-principal of NASA, said the organisation would not be party to the announcement of Kenyatta as president, citing unresolved concerns about the veracity of the electoral process.
“The issues we raised have not been adequately addressed,” he said. “One can conclude that they (Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) were not keen on taking our concerns seriously.”
James Orengo, NASA party chief agent, described the process as a “disaster”. “This has been an entire charade. The judgment is now out there in the court of public opinion.”
Odinga, running as the NASA candidate, told rthe media on Thursday that he doesn’t “trust” the paper forms from polling stations around the country that officials used to authenticate votes.
Odinga said the forms could have been “manipulated” before being returned to the capital. At a news conference on Thursday, members of Odinga’s party gave no evidence to support any claims of election tampering, citing only unnamed sources at the election commission.
Kisumu’s main street “Oginga Odinga street”, named for Raila’s father who acted as the country’s first vice president, was largely deserted on Friday.
In a letter released Friday morning, Chebukati, the chairman of the election commission, rejected the opposition coalition’s evidence of election fraud, calling it “obviously and plainly falsified.”
On Thursday, Chebukati said tampering with the election system “was attempted but did not succeed,” without elaborating further.
Earlier Friday, international observers called upon candidates to respect the final outcome and resolve any poll disputes through legal avenues.
More than 400 international election monitors -ncluding officials from 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 Centre, said on Thursday that while there were “little aberrations here and there”, the election was not rigged. – Agencies.