A scuffle broke out between officials at the Kenya Center for Election Results in Nairobi, with William Ruto controversially being declared the winner.
Supporters of rival presidential candidate Raila Odinga were outraged when four out of seven election commissioners said they could neither acknowledge the results nor attend the announcement.
The scuffle, which saw chairs thrown and punches thrown, came as a supporter of Raila Odinga tried to prevent the head of the electoral commission from delivering a speech.
While Mr. Ruto arrived at the national census center at 1:00 p.m. local time for the expected announcement, Mr. Odinga did not show up.
His party’s chief election agent announced that he would not ask Mr Odinga to go to the count because his team could not verify some of the results.
“We cannot accept the announced outcome,” Juliana Cherera, deputy chair of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), told reporters, saying the process was “opaque.”
A scuffle broke out between officials at the Kenya Results Center in Nairobi, amid allegations of vote-rigging and a belated announcement
The scuffle, which involved throwing chairs and throwing punches, came as a supporter of Raila Odinga tried to prevent the head of the electoral commission from delivering a speech
The announcement of the long-awaited result of Kenya’s presidential election was thrown into chaos after four out of seven election commissioners said they could not accept the results
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto reacts after being declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election
“We will make a full statement… and we again urge Kenyans to remain calm. There is an open door for people to go to court and the rule of law will prevail,” she said.
Mr Odinga’s party agent had alleged that there had been “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the elections.
William Ruto, 55, was Kenya’s Deputy President for ten years before running for the presidency. He fell out with former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who supported Mr Odinga as his successor.
Diplomats and international elections were brought out of the counting room, where the chairman of the electoral commission was preparing to announce the results of the presidential election.
Two election commissioners were injured in the violence, according to Wafula Chebukati, the head of the election commission.
The announcement finally came around 5pm local time – a four-hour delay from the expected time, with Mr Ruto claiming victory with 50.49 percent of the vote versus Mr Odinga’s 48.85 percent.
A runoff would have been declared if neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote, giving Mr Ruto the bare minimum he needed to win.
In his speech, Mr. Ruto acknowledges his razor-thin lead and the divided nature of the Kenyan electorate.
Supporters of Kenyan Vice President William Ruto celebrate at his party headquarters in Nairobi
The head of Kenya’s electoral commission has declared Vice President William Ruto the winner of a close presidential election against five-time contender Raila Odinga
Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga burn tires in the Kibera district of Nairobi, Kenya, chanting “No Raila No Peace”.
Supporters of Kenya’s opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga react ahead of the election results
“I will lead a transparent, open and democratic government,” he says.
“I want to promise all the people of Kenya, whatever their vote, that this will be their government.
“I want to tell them [opponents] that they have nothing to fear – there is no place for revenge. I am very aware that our country is at a stage where we need all hands on deck to move it forward.’
And he praised the electoral commission, despite the fact that three of its members said they could not check the result.
Mr Ruto’s declaration of victory sparked violence and riots among Mr Odinga’s supporters, who burned tires and declared “No Raila, no peace”.
Kenya has a history of post-election violence and slow progress by the Electoral Commission in counting Tuesday’s votes has fueled fears that the election will be contested, leading to bloody scenes like those following the 2007 and 2017 presidential elections.
Mr Odinga has seven days to challenge Mr Ruto’s victory in court if he chooses to contest the election.
International recognition has already come when Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa congratulated Mr Ruto and said he had “no doubt that he will serve his country, his people and our continent with distinction”.