Incumbent Deputy President William Ruto has won the race to become the Fifth President of Kenya, according to results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC. Ruto led a tight presidential race against long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga, but secured a narrow margin victory polling a little more than seven million votes to defeat Odinga, who got a little less than seven million votes too. Ruto received 50.49 percent of the vote against Odinga’s 48.85 percent.
What are the reactions to the announcement?
Four Election Commissioners, including the Vice Chairman of the Electoral Commission and three others, however, rejected the result, saying they could not support the “opaque” vote count shortly before the announcement.
“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced” Juliana Cherera, Deputy Chairperson said, urging the parties to pursue any disputes through the courts.
The sudden split in the commission’s camp came minutes after Odinga’s chief agent said they could not verify the results, alleging electoral offenses but not giving details or evidence.
What’s next for Kenyans?
Kenyans are waiting to see if Odinga will go to court to challenge the outcome of the seemingly Tuesday’s peaceful election. There is a palpable fear of violence breaking out. In Kisumu, a stronghold of Odinga in the west of the country, the reaction was immediate. Several black fumes of smoke rose around a roundabout as people burned piles of tires amid shouts of “we need Raila now!”
Next week may be tumultuous in Kenya, political analyst Javas Bigambo told Al Jazeera.
Any statement from both camps?
Odinga spokesman, Makau Mutua described the announcement as “invalid because the commission had no quorum of commissioners to hold a plenary and make such weighty decision”. Odinga’s running mate Martha Kaura, a former Justice Minister tweeted: “it is not over until it is over”.
While there’s been no official statement from Ruto’s camp, Raila Odinga and his party have seven days to file a petition in the supreme court to contest the result of the election.