KENYANS had to hold their breath until 10;15pm yesterday to officially know their next president, when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced Jubilee candidate Uhuru Kenyatta as the rightful winner of the presidential race.
Immediately, president elect, Uhuru Kenyatta thanked all the Kenyans for the successful election, extending a hand of friendship to his rivals and appealing for peace co-existence among citizens. “In any competition, there is always a loser and a winner, but the greatest thing is that we all belong to Kenya. We are not enemies,” said Kenyatta.
However, Kenyatta’s political rival National Super Alliance (NASA)’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his camp rejected the results, accusing IEBC of refusing to work on their concerns.
“Having IECB failed to address our concerns, we have decided that we won’t be part of the declaration the Commission is about to make here,” NASA Chief agent Musalia Mudavadi told reporters before they left Bomas of Kenya at 7: 30pm yesterday, about three hours before the final results were announced.
Mudavadi told reporters that the Commission promised to work on NASA’s concerns after making the final declaration, an indication that it (IEBC) was not ready to address their concerns.
Alternate chief agent James Orengo yesterday afternoon asked IEBC to give NASA, other candidates and observers access to its computer servers. Orengo said they would accept the presidential result if indeed they were defeated, adding that they were ready to do so if they had clearly seen figures in the commission’s server showed they lost.
According to the results announced Kenyatta collected 8,203,290 votes, equivalent to 54.27 per cent of the total votes while Odinga garnered 6,762,224 votes, equivalent to 44.74 per cent. Before announcing the results IEBC Chairman Wafura Chebukati said the election was conducted in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner.
According to Mr Chebukati, 15.07 million voters turned up to vote, out of over 19.6 million voters registered. The Commission had, on Thursday, promised to announce the results by yesterday noon but such a dream could not materialise due to delays in receiving presidential vote declaration forms from some constituencies.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Odinga’s political camp had taken to the stage, claiming IECB computers had been infiltrated by unknown people who manipulated votes in the electronic data transmission systems.
IEBC Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Ezra Chiloba and Commission Chairperson, Mr Chebukati denied the hacking allegations though they admitted that there were attempts to infiltrate the system. Groups of election observer missions threw their weight into asking Kenyans to exercise restraint as the national electoral body was finalising tallying of votes.
In 2007, the opposition coalition disputed the electoral results after the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner, sparking ethnic killings that left more than 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced from their homes.
Minutes before the Commission announced the results yesterday Jubilee supporters were seen dancing at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) while members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Kenya and members of various groups of election observer missions were spotted in discussion and consultation groups.
With Kenyatta’s victory in the fierce presidential contest the political fate of Odinga who is now 72 years old is not known. Most likely the opposition would want to have a different flag bearer in the next election in 2022.
However, that is not guaranteed because Kenneth Matiba, who came second in the 1992 presidential election, was 70 and Kibaki was 75 when he ran for a second term in office in 2007. During 2013 presidential election President Uhuru Kenyatta took home 50.07 per cent of the votes cast, avoiding a runoff by the slimmest of margins.
Odinga took home 43 per cent of the votes cast. Under the new Kenya constitution, a winner must garner 50 per cent of the total presidential votes cast plus one vote to avoid a runoff. This is the fourth time Odinga unsuccessfully runs for president.
He vied for the post for the first time in 1997 during the contest that involved 15 candidates, including Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya Africa National Union( KANU), Mwai Kibaki of Democratic Party and Michael Kijana Wamalwa of FORD Kenya.
Moi emerged victorious with 2,500,865 votes followed by Kibaki who garnered 1,911,742 votes. Odinga emerged third with 667,886 votes. He made the second attempt in 2007 general election but was defeated by former President Mwai Kibaki who vied for the post under the Party of National Unity.
Odinga rejected the results, causing chaos that saw more than 1,200 people being killed. His third bid for presidency was made in 2012 but again was defeated, this time by Uhuru Kenyatta.