NAIROBI — Uhuru Kenyatta has won Kenya’s re-run presidential election, according to the country’s electoral commission.
“I hereby declare Mr. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mr. William Samoei Ruto as president-elect and deputy president-elect, respectively,” said Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, or IEBC.
With eight candidates listed on the ballot, Kenyatta, the incumbent, attained almost 7.5 million votes, or roughly 98 percent of the overall tally. This figure is attributed to the fact that main challenger Raila Odinga instructed his supporters to boycott Thursday’s election, resulting in non-existent, sparse or significantly shorter voter lines than those in the original August election.
The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s victory in that poll, ruling that the IEBC had not followed the electoral law and the constitution. Specifically, the court held it responsible for “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of election results.
“My victory today is just part of a process, that is likely to once again be subjected to a constitutional test through our courts. And as I have demonstrated, repeatedly, I will submit to this constitutional path, no matter its outcomes,” Kenyatta said.
Chebukati noted that voter turnout was roughly 39 percent this time, compared to about 80 percent in August.
The commission said it was unable to open polls in four of Kenya’s 47 counties on election day, or two days later, due to security concerns. An IEBC official stated that these votes would not have influenced the overall outcome, so the final result could be announced without them.
Accusations of excessive force
Meanwhile, as the voting and tallying continue, police have been accused of using excessive force against demonstrators, primarily in some Nairobi slums and the western city of Kisumu.
Amnesty International says security forces in Kisumu have engaged in “punitive policing.” The rights group says it has evidence of police shootings, aggressive assaults and home break-ins of suspected protesters, as well as those in the vicinity of protests. Amnesty condemned the excessive use of force by police in Nairobi.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec released a statement Monday saying the United States is “profoundly concerned by the outbreaks of violence in Kenya” and “deeply concerned by reports of excessive use of force by police” following the election. He urged security services to use force only when there is no other choice to protect life and property.
Kenya’s police spokesperson, George Kinoti, disputes the allegations. “To the contrary, the police have overstretched their restraint, resulting to officers’ injuries in the line of duty protecting life and wanton destruction of property by marauding youths who are armed with all manner of weapons including burning tires, rocks, machetes, slings, welding tools to destroy and barricade roads, etc.,” he said.
At least nine people have died as a result of election-related violence since Thursday. Some were shot by police, while others were killed in clashes involving ethnic groups.
“Your neighbor will remain your neighbor, despite the political outcomes. Your neighbor will be your brother, your neighbor will be your sister. Let each and every one of us be our brother’s keeper, our sister’s keeper; let us maintain peace,” Kenyatta said.
Odinga has continued to demand that several members of the commission step down and for the polls to be postponed beyond the 60-day deadline announced by the court. After arguing that these, and other so-called “irreducible minimums” had not been met, he called for the boycott of Thursday’s election.
Three registered voters petitioned Kenya’s Supreme Court to have the election stopped, but it was not heard last Wednesday — the day before the election — as scheduled after Chief Justice David Maraga said the court lacked a quorum to do so.
Chebukati announced that day that polling would go forth.
Odinga is expected to give his response to the election announcement Tuesday.
– Jill Craig I VOA