NAIROBI – Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto was declared the winner of the country’s 2022 general election, beating his rival Raila Odinga by a narrow margin after a largely peaceful voting process.
Although Ruto, 55, has vowed to work with ‘all leaders’ and said ‘there is no room for revenge’, all eyes will be on Odinga in the coming days.
Analysts have warned that protests will likely take place in Kisumu and continue in areas around Nairobi.
“The final balance sheet tightening has inevitably increased the likelihood of disruption,” consultancy Eurasia Group said in a statement, but adding that “widespread unrest remains unlikely.”
The country of around 50 million people is already grappling with rising prices, crippling drought, rampant corruption and growing disillusionment with the political elite.
While several African leaders congratulated Ruto, the US Embassy instead praised Kenyan voters and the IEBC, urging political rivals to settle their differences over the election peacefully.
Ruto, a shadowy rags-to-riches businessman, had described the vote as a battle between ordinary ‘scammers’ and the ‘dynasties’ that have dominated Kenyan politics since independence from Britain in 1963.
Any challenge to the results must be submitted within seven days to the Supreme Court, which then has 14 days to rule. If he orders the repeal, a new vote must take place within 60 days.
Barring legal action, Ruto will be sworn in in two weeks, becoming Kenya’s fifth president since independence.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court overturned the election after Odinga rejected the results. Dozens of people were killed by police in the protests that followed.
The worst election violence in Kenya’s history came after a disputed vote in 2007, when more than 1,100 people were killed in a bloodbath between rival tribes.
- Editor / additional report by AFP