Kenyan elections: US urges citizens to shun violence as result controversy rages on

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Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) and Vice President William Ruto
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) and Vice President William Ruto
Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP
  • The US Embassy in Nairobi says it is in regular contact with its counterparts in the Kenyan government.
  • Kenyans have been urged to use existing electoral dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • African presidents have started congratulating William Ruto despite Raila Odinga's rejection of the result.

The US Department of State has urged Kenyans to stick to the constitution in resolving disputes emanating from the elections.

Political journeyman Raila Odinga, of the Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya Coalition Party, lost in presidential elections for the fifth time.

However, he has disputed the results that led to Vice President William Ruto being declared president-elect.

Odinga said he would take the matter to the supreme court to dispute Ruto's 50.5% victory.

There have been pockets of violence in Kisumu and parts of the capital Nairobi.

But the US has urged political leaders to act responsibly to avoid history repeating itself and more violence erupting. 

US state department spokesperson Ned Price said: 

Going forward, we urge all parties to work together to peacefully resolve any remaining concerns about the election through the existing dispute resolution mechanisms. And we ask all political party leaders to continue to urge their supporters to remain peaceful and to refrain from violence during the electoral process.

The previous presidential elections of 2017 that saw Odinga lose to outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta were marred by serious human rights violations, including killings and beatings by police during protests in western Kenya.

To avoid a similar situation, the US embassy in Kenya said it had been in constant contact with political operators in the country, emphasising peace and stability.

"Our embassy in Nairobi has been in regular contact with their counterparts in the Kenyan government, primarily to underscore that core message – that core message of calm and patience," said Price.

On Sunday, a day before the announcement of the results, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to President Uhuru Kenyatta to underscore the importance of calm and patience as the electoral process continued.

Odinga, during his campaign, adopted the song Nobody Can Stop Reggae by the late South African icon Lucky Dube, suggesting that nothing could stop him in the race for the presidency.

READ | Kenyan elections: Raila Odinga defeated for the fifth time

But as he heads to the supreme court to challenge the result, numerous African heads of state have begun congratulating Ruto for his disputed victory.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was one of the first to offer his congratulations.

"Congratulations to William Ruto on his election as the next president of Kenya. I have no doubt he will serve his country, his people, and our continent with distinction," he said.

Ethiopia was the first neighbouring country to Kenya to congratulate Ruto.

"My congratulations to William Ruto, on your election as the president of the Republic of Kenya. I wish you luck in your endeavors ahead. We look forward to working closely with you on common bilateral and regional interests," said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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