31, October 2017
Incumbent Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the winner of the east African country’s election re-run, amid fears of further violence in flashpoint opposition strongholds.
Kenya’s electoral commission announced on Monday that Kenyatta had garnered 98.2 percent of the vote in the October 26 repeat presidential election, in which the voter turnout was almost 39 percent of the 19.6 million registered voters.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said the incumbent president had received 7,483,895 votes from a total of 7,616,217 cast ballots.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had boycotted the Thursday protest-hit election, collected 73,228 votes, less than one percent of the ballots cast.
Odinga accused the IEBC of not implementing reforms to prevent widespread procedural irregularities and mismanagement that had culminated in the annulment of the initial vote in August. The opposition leader won 44.7 percent of the vote after Kenyatta in the previous round that saw a turnout of nearly 80 percent.
In his victory speech on Monday, Kenyatta once again that his triumph in the original August 8 election was legitimate and that dialogue over political peace and stability in the future would have to wait if the opposition was going to file lawsuits again.
“My victory today is just part of a process that is likely to once again be subjected to a constitutional test through our courts … I will submit to this constitutional path regardless of the outcome,” Kenyatta said.
“Those who are going to ask me: ‘Are you going to engage in dialogue?’ … Let them (the opposition) first and foremost exhaust all their constitutional options,” he noted.
The incumbent president also reiterated that his victory was a “revalidation” of the people’s will after a vote that had already been branded by Odinga’s supporters as a farce.
Prior to the announcement of the election results, Kenyan police stepped up security in flashpoint areas in the country’s west, including the capital Nairobi’s slum of Mathare and the coastal city of Mombasa.
Shortly after the announcement, demonstrators began burning tires in the western city of Kisumu as well as in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, according to reports.
At least nine people have been killed by gunshot wounds and beatings by police in the post-election violence since Thursday, taking the death toll since the first presidential election in August to 49.
The turmoil over the election has been polarizing the nation and hampering growth in East Africa’s most vibrant economy. Kenya is also considered a major regional trade hub and a key security ally for Western countries.
The European Union has called on Kenyan security forces to provide protection to all citizens and avoid the excessive use of force. A decade ago, some 1,200 Kenyans were killed in violence after another disputed poll.