Kenya’s electoral commission yesterday announced that the current President Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected, putting an official end to a fierce electoral contest that many fear could still be clouded by a dispute over the results.
Opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, 72, had earlier alleged that the results of Tuesday’s balloting were rigged and pledged not to accept them unless he was declared the winner.
That stance has raised tensions, with Odinga’s followers burning tyres in recent days in some of Nairobi’s slums and protesting in the western city of Kisumu.
Odinga’s campaign yesterday suggested a possible way out of the dispute, with officials saying they might accept the results if they were able to inspect the electoral commission’s computer servers.
But for days, some of his most extreme supporters have promised to take to the streets if Kenyatta was announced the winner.
According to the official results, Kenyatta received 54.2 per cent of the votes, against Odinga’s 44.7 per cent.
News agencies reported that this week, Nairobi, normally a frenetic city of legendary traffic jams, was transformed into a relative ghost town, with many families leaving out of fear.
Yesterday morning, in anticipation of the official results being announced, Odinga’s supporters staged small demonstrations in some areas, taunting the Police and chanting “No Raila, no peace.”
Bystanders watch as Kenyan police trucks arrive following a protest at Nairobi’s Mathare slum yesterday.
In 2007, over 1,000 people were killed in ethnic violence after Odinga lost that year’s presidential election amid alleged vote-rigging.
Kenyatta, 55, the son of Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta, is a member of the Kukuyu ethnic group, which has dominated politics since Kenya’s independence from Britain in 1963.
Odinga, his longtime political rival, belongs to the Luo tribe.
Kenyatta was first elected in 2013 and has tried to project the image of a reformer, even as his government has been plagued by allegations of corruption.
In an acceptance speech, Kenyatta addressed his opponents, saying: “We are not enemies. We are all citizens of one republic. There is no need for violence.”