Kenyatta wins Kenya election

2013-03-09 09:40

Uhuru Kenyatta was elected Kenya’s new president despite facing an international crimes against humanity trial, provisional election commission figures have shown.

Kenyatta took 50.03% of the vote, according to constituency tallies released today, to become the African country’s new leader 50 years after his independence hero father, Kenya’s founding president.

The 51-year-old outgoing deputy prime minister – charismatic, able to appeal to all classes and one of Africa’s richest men – is the first leader to take power while facing trial in The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kenyatta, whose first name means “freedom” in Swahili, beat by over 800 000 votes his opponent Raila Odinga, the 68-year-old outgoing prime minister who was on his third failed bid at the top job.

But Kenyatta, who won 6 173 433 votes out of a total 12 338 667 ballots cast, scraped through the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second-round run-off by just over 4 000 votes.

Odinga trailed in second place with 43.28% with a total of 5 340 546 votes.

Once the results were released Kenyatta’s supporters launched into victory celebrations. In Nakuru, a Rift Valley town which voted massively for Kenyatta’s coalition, crowds packed the streets dancing frenetically and waving greenery in the air.

As Kenyatta’s supporters hugged and cheered in victory celebrations when the numbers were released, concerns were high as to how Odinga loyalists will react, five years on since a wave of bloodshed in which over 1 100 people were killed following disputed December 2007 elections.

In Odinga’s stronghold of Kisumu tension was mounting on the edges of Kondele slum.

“We can’t accept this – we are ready to die, we are ready for anything,” said businessman Joshua Owino, a Luo like Odinga. “We are just waiting for Raila to talk.”

“We can’t take another 10 years of this – why is it always just one tribe ruling,” asked motorbike taxi driver David Onyango.

Officials however have said they would follow only legal channels.

Anyang’ Nyong’o, secretary general of Odinga’s party, said before the announcement of results they would file a petition at the Supreme Court “because the process has been awful and there’s evidence to that effect”.

Asked whether he thought there had been systematic rigging in favour of one candidate he said: “I think so. There’s evidence to that effect.”

A formal results announcement was expected later today.

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