Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote, narrowly defeating veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was contesting her fifth election.
He will become the fifth president of Kenya since independence, winning the seat on his first try. Ruto’s party, the Kenya First coalition, won the majority of seats in the Kenyan Senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.
The announcement of the results was delayed more than two hours after the constitutional deadline and the country’s electoral commission was split, after four officials rejected the results by commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Opposition officials held a press conference of their own elsewhere to challenge the official results. IEBC Vice President Juliana Cherera was among those who disagreed with the results, but provided no evidence of wrongdoing.
Earlier on Monday, Ruto’s rival Odinga’s coalition also rejected the election results before they were announced by the Kenya Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC).
Odinga’s top agent, Saitabao Kanchory, told reporters outside the national polling station in Nairobi that they had not yet been able to check the final result against their own account.
“Once we see them, we want to verify them, when we verify them, we will be able to know and tell the people of Kenya, because a result that is not verifiable is not a result,” Kanchory told reporters awaiting the results. ad.
The national computer center briefly descended into chaos shortly after Odinga’s coalition rejected the results, with clashes and chairs thrown into the building.
‘It’s not over until it’s over’
Ruto thanked the Kenyan people for voting him as the country’s next leader in his first speech after being announced as the winner of the elections.
“In this election, there are no losers. The Kenyan people have won because we have raised the political bar. The Kenyan people are the biggest winner,” he said.
He expressed his “thankfulness” to the citizens of Kenya “who refused to be crammed into tribal cocoons”.
He also thanked his competitor and veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, saying: “We stop at the issues and try to sell an agenda to the people of Kenya during the campaign.”
“It was God who brought us here…my team and I will ensure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans are not in vain…I will lead a transparent, open and democratic government and work with the opposition to the extent that they supervise my management,” he added.
There was a divided response to the presidential election results in Kenya on Monday night. In Eldoret, live footage from Ruto’s hometown showed large crowds celebrating and cheering his victory.
But in Kisumu, Odinga’s stronghold, protests broke out. Live footage showed dozens of people protesting the election results, tires on fire and smoke in the air.
The ‘swindler in chief’
But Ruto’s populist “man of the people” approach, which rejected political dynasties and played on anti-elite sentiment in the country, won him over with voters.
He was able to transcend traditional Kenyan dynastic politics to defeat Odinga, the son of Kenya’s first vice president.
During the campaign, Ruto described himself as the “hustler in chief,” citing his humble beginnings as a chicken vendor who fought his way to the top of Kenyan politics.
Political analyst Herman Manyora told CNN before the election that “Ruto has excited the young people…almost in a sense of euphoria.”
Ruto, a former professor who has a Ph.D. in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, has vowed to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “encourage ordinary citizens” as president.
He will come under pressure to provide solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including mounting debt, high food and fuel prices, and mass youth unemployment.
Ruto has a long and varied history in Kenyan politics and was also tried alongside President Kenyatta in 2013 at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against humanity following deadly violence in the 2007 elections. , the charges were later dismissed.
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