Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto has been elected as the country’s next president amid last-minute chaos following the election results.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on Aug. 15 that Ruto won the presidential poll with 50.49% of the vote.
Ruto, 55, narrowly defeated longtime opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was contesting his fifth election.
Ruto won the seat on his first attempt and is set to become Kenya’s fifth president since its independence.
“Thank you, Kenya, for the biggest honor of my life. I am ready to serve you,” Ruto said on Twitter.
“I will work for all Kenyans. We will go out of our way to deliver on our pledges. We will serve all equally. This will be your government; the government of the people of Kenya,” Ruto further said.
Ruto’s party, the Kenya First coalition, also won a majority of the seats in the Senate, the second highest in the National Assembly.
The announcement of the election results was delayed for more than two hours past the constitutional deadline after four of seven IEBC officials disowned Chairman Wafula Chebukati’s results.
“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of this last phase of the general election,” IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera told reporters without providing evidence of irregularities.
The sudden declaration prompted fears that vote-rigging allegations could lead to a legal challenge or deadly violence similar to what occurred after the 2007 and 2017 presidential polls.
In an attempt to alleviate concerns, Cherera advised those involved to take their complaints to court.
Violence briefly broke out with fighting and chairs being thrown in the national tallying center.
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