Ruto wins Kenya presidential election as scuffles break out at count centre

Ruto wins Kenya presidential election as scuffles break out at count centre
Ruto wins Kenya presidential election as scuffles break out at count centre 15 August 2022 08:37 PM: Last week, millions of Kenyans exercised their democratic rights and voted for their next round of political leaders.

But today, as chairs and tables were flipped and flung across the national tallying centre in Nairobi, hopes of a smooth and successful electoral process were sadly shattered.

The race between former prime minister Raila Odinga and current deputy president William Ruto has been incredibly close.

Public tallies of electronically uploaded vote counts from more than 46,200 polling stations across the country alternated between the two front-runners for days.

As of last night, Mr Ruto seemed to be leading by a few hundred thousand votes.

Today, three different choirs sang tunes of Kenyan pride as the nation gathered to learn the final outcome of the presidential race.

As the announcement time came and went, whispers circulated of an informal news conference outside of the centre.

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Mr Odinga's chief electoral liaison was formally dismissing the vote verification process carried out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"We have intelligence reports that their system was penetrated and hacked, and that some of the IEBC officials actually committed electoral offences and some of them ought to have been arrested, if they were not arrested," said Saitabao Ole Kanchory.


Shortly after, four out of seven electoral commissioners disavowed the final results and labelled the tallying as "opaque".

Validated by the public denouncement, members of Mr Odinga's Azimio party swung into action inside the centre.

The anxiety of the six-day wait finally erupted into chaos, while the choir continued to sing.

Chairs were thrown, tables flipped and a lectern lifted and dashed from above. All hell broke loose as Azimio loyalists waved their arms in an 'X' sign to a balcony of journalists.

Their rejection of the upcoming announcement was clear - even as anti-riot police cracked down on them. Force was met with force, as dissidents were trampled on and escorted out of the centre to the cheers of Mr Ruto's UDA party members.

Image: Members of opposition engage in a scuffle with the security officials

Read more:
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The frenzy gave way to an eerie calm and soon after Mr Ruto arrived to the cheers of his party and dizzied election observers.

A short ironic prayer on peace and healing introduced the IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati who cut right to the chase.

"I, Wafula Chebukati, chairperson of the independent electoral boundaries commission hereby declares that Ruto William Samoei…is newly elected as the President of the Republic of Kenya," he said.

Mr Ruto won with 50.49% of the votes cast - 7,176,141 ballots - according to IEBC results.

Protests raged in Mr Odinga's Nairobi stronghold, Kibera. In the port city of Kisumu, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Celebrations roared in Mr Ruto's hometown El-Doret and parts of the capital.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Ruto thanked his "worthy opponent" Mr Odinga and "boss" current President Uhuru Kenyatta and former ally turned foe. Both men are yet to comment on the outcome.

The response came from Martha Karua, Mr Odinga's running mate, who was set to become the first female Vice President of Kenya.

"It is not over till it is over" read her tweet.

I asked Mr Ruto about the tweet at a press conference shortly after his declared win.

"How will you respond to a contested election outcome?".

"This election to the best of our knowledge and understanding is over," he replied.

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