Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared Kenya's new president having won 50.7 per cent of the vote. He has won the presidency by a margin of 8,419 votes.
His rival Raila Odinga has not yet accepted defeat and has announced that he will challenge the election in the Supreme Court. However he has asked his supporters not to resort to violence as happened after the elections in 2007, saying “Any violence could destroy this nation for ever.”
Kenyatta is at present waiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of fomenting the violence that broke out after the close 2007 election which left more than 1,000 dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. In that election Odinga lost out in a disputed vote to Kenya’s now outgoing president Mwai Kibaki.
Kenyatta, 51, is the son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta and will be the country’s youngest president.
This election has been complicated by many technical difficulties and the electronic returning process had to be abandoned when the Safaricom mobile network broke down. Votes then had to be returned by hand from all over the country to the counting centre in Nairobi.
By gaining the simple majority threshold required under Kenya’s new 2010 constitution for an outright win Kenyatta has avoided a run-off election against Odinga in April.
Kenya’s main newspaper The Daily Nation has written:
“Kenyatta’s victory is the product of smart coalition building and one of the most sophisticated and flamboyant campaigns the nation has known. Kenyatta forged a partnership with former Eldoret North MP William Ruto, which offered him a path to victory by securing the support of the bulk of voters in the populous Rift Valley region.”
The paper goes on to point out that the duo is the first anywhere in the world to be democratically elected while under indictment at the ICC.
Ruto is also waiting trial at The Hague for his part in the post election violence in January 2008.