William Samoei Arap Ruto wins Kenya presidential election
William Samoei Arap Ruto, the outgoing deputy president, was elected Kenya’s fifth president on August 9, as the independent electoral and boundary commission chairman, Wafula Chebukati, announced.
Independent Electoral and Border Guard Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said Ruto got 7.17 million votes, equivalent to 50.49%, David Mwaure got 31,987 thousand votes, George Wajackoyah got 61,969 thousand votes, while Kenya’s longtime opposition leader, Raila Amolo Odinga, got 6.94 million votes, equal to 48.85%.
The 55 years old William Ruto defeated his opponent Kenya’s longtime opposition leader, Raila Omolo Odinga, who didn’t attend the declaration of the presidential election result.
“I want to promise the people of Kenya that I will run a democratic government, and I will work with the opposition to the extent that they oversight the government,” William Ruto said.
Shortly before Wafula Chebukati announced the results, four of the seven Kenya’s IEBC board members refused to recognize the results, raising fears of violence in the hotly contested election.
“We cannot take responsibility for the results that will be announced,” IEBC deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera told the media before the official announcement.
Who is William Samoei Arap Ruto?
Born in Sambut Village, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County, in 1966, as a teenager, Ruto used to sell peanuts and chickens barefoot on roadsides and went to primary school barefoot.
William Ruto graduated from the University of Nairobi PhD in 2018, joined politics in 1992, and has served as Kenya’s deputy president since 2013.
In December 2020, Ruto announced his alliance with the newly formed United Democratic Alliance party. He is the only 2022 presidential candidate who attended the 2022 presidential debate, while his opponent Raila Odinga refused.
In December 2010, the International Criminal Court announced seeking the summons of six people, including Ruto, over their involvement in the 2007/2008 electoral violence, but in April 2016, the International Criminal Court abandoned Ruto’s prosecution.
After 30 years in politics, from Eldoret North constituency MPs, Ruto has held various positions in the government of Kenya, such as Minister and Kenya’s deputy president since 2013. Finally, he became Kenya’s fifth president.
William Ruto has been declared the winner of the race to be the fifth president of Kenya after narrowly beating his rival, Raila Odinga.
It was a narrow margin of victory with Ruto winning a little more than seven million votes and Odinga securing a little less than seven million, said Wafula Chebukat, chairperson of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Ruto received 50.49 percent of the vote, while Odinga received 48.85 percent. The announcement was delayed amid scuffles and allegations of vote-rigging by Odinga’s campaign, reports the BBC
Four of the seven members of the electoral commission also refused to endorse the result, saying it was “opaque”.
“We are going to give a comprehensive statement… and again we urge Kenyans to keep calm. There is an open door that people can go to court and the rule of law will prevail,” said Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of IEBC.
Odinga’s party agent earlier alleged that there were “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the election. Candidates have seven days to challenge the result in court.
Now Kenyans wait to see whether Odinga will again go to court to contest the results of last Tuesday’s peaceful election in a country crucial to regional stability, according to media reports.
The many checks and balances were designed to try to prevent the kind of allegations of rigging that provoked violence after the 2007 election, when more than 1,200 people were killed. In 2017, after the Supreme Court quashed the result over irregularities in the electoral process, more than 100 were killed.
Ruto is a 55-year-old rags-to-riches businessman who had characterized the vote as a battle between ordinary “hustlers” and “dynasties” who had ruled Kenya since independence from Britain in 1963, reports Aljazeera.
In his speech, President-elect Ruto thanked the electoral commission for overseeing the election.
“It is a wonderful evening… all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya,” Ruto said, adding that he wanted to be a president of all. “There is no looking back, we are looking to the future, we need all hands on deck to move forward.”
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was among the first African leaders to congratulate president-elect Ruto.
“My congratulations William Ruto, on your election as the President of the Republic of Kenya,” he said in a tweet. “I wish you best of luck in your endeavors ahead and we look forward to working closely with you on common bilateral and regional interests.”
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