Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has won a second five-year term, the country’s electoral commission announced Friday. The official results show Kenyatta achieving re-election comfortably, with a lead of more than 1.4 million votes over his principal challenger, Raila Odinga.
“We are all citizens of one republic,” Kenyatta said on national television after what was a bruising and bitter campaign.
As with any competition,” he continued, “there shall always be winners and there shall be losers. But we all belong to one great nation called Kenya.”
Yet it’s not clear that Odinga will readily accept the outcome, which he has vehemently protested since preliminary results for Tuesday’s election began portending a Kenyatta victory. As recently as Thursday, Odinga’s campaign manager, Musalia Mudavadi, declared victory for his candidate, saying that “a serious attempt to try to either doctor or alter the final results” had fraudulently swung the balance of the election.
To our worthy competitors we are friends, we are not enemies. I extend a hand of friendship and partnership
“It’s been a long wait for the last couple of days. But we were determined that we would be patient and wait for the final result, as indeed have now been declared,” Kenyatta said following the announcement.
“We shall continue with the work that we have started…Kenyans want us to succeed.”
More than 15 million people cast their ballots, representing 78 percent of the registered voters.
“Countries around the world have been watching us closely,” Wafula Chebukati, Kenya Electoral Commission chairman, declared.
Chebukati said that he was “confident” that the manner the election was conducted was “fair and credible”.
The announcement of the results was delayed for hours after election officials had said they needed time to review documents from some polling districts.
As Kenyatta’s supporters celebrated his victory in Nairobi, Odinga’s supporters clashed with police, setting objects on fire to protest the results. Shots were also fired in the capital.
Kenyatta will continue at the helm of a country that’s the world’s largest exporter of black tea and is a regional hub for companies including Google Inc. and General Electric Co. The opposition’s dispute over the results sets the stage for a repeat of the election-related violence that has stalked Kenya since it became a multiparty democracy in 1991. In the worst outbreak, ethnic clashes left at least 1,100 people dead after a disputed 2007 vote.