Listen to Today's Edition
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto won Kenya’s highly-anticipated presidential elections this week, even as his rival rejected the results and vowed to challenge the president-elect’s victory in court, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Election results showed that Ruto secured a razor-thin margin of 50.5 percent, defeating opposition leader Raila Odinga, who scraped under 49 percent of the vote, the rest going to other candidates.
The closely watched vote attracted a lot of controversy after four of the seven members of the electoral commission expressed concern over the final result. They accused Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati of concealing return data from other commissioners.
Police said there were no major incidents but noted that there were a few clashes between officers and Odinga supporters following the announcement of Ruto’s win. They added that a poll worker who vanished on Friday after leaving a tallying facility was found dead on Monday.
Odinga, meanwhile, said he would challenge the results in the country’s Supreme Court and urged his supporters to remain calm.
Despite the incidents and allegations of irregularities, international and local observers praised the vote itself as largely peaceful and the counting process as transparent.
Still, Odinga’s announcement has raised concerns that Kenya could experience post-election violence, similar to 2017: Odinga – who was also running for president at the time – succeeded in having the Supreme Court declare the results of the first round of voting invalid, only to lose the rerun election.
During the elections, police killed dozens of demonstrators.
Kenya remains a strong US ally in the fight against Islamist terrorist groups in Africa. The East African nation is also viewed as the economic powerhouse of the region and a pillar of stability compared with conflict-ridden neighbors such as Ethiopia and Somalia.