Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared winner of last week’s rerun presidential election which was boycotted by main opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Kenyatta garnered 7,483,895 votes representing 98.26%, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced on Monday.
National Super Alliance (NASA) candidate, Odinga, garnered only 0.96% of the vote despite his boycott.
Total valid votes were 7,616,217 and turnout was 38.84%, Chebukati added. By contrast, turnout in the August election was 80%.
Kenyatta however justifies his victory despite the low turnout after receiving his certificate of return on Monday. “On August 8th, 15 million Kenyans came out to vote. Of these 8.4 million Kenyans voted for me. On October 26th, 90% of the same voters came out to support my Bid. This was a Re-Validation of their General Will,” the re-elected president said. “And all of this was done within the confines of the Rule of Law, and our Constitutional imperatives.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court cancelled the 8 August election citing irregularities. The opposition coalition had petitioned the court and secured a historic verdict with the first ever annulment of a presidential election in Africa.
NASA refused to participate in the re-run with the reason that reforms ordered by the court had not been undertaken. Hence the polls were not going to be free and fair let alone credible.
Odinga, a former Prime Minister, has described the rerun election as a circus and insists that political dialogue must take place following which fresh polls must be held in ninety days.
“I think they were a sham (rerun elections of 26 October) is the best way to describe them. I think they were really not elections… The turnout is 3.5 million but he has already scored 7.2 million that basically adds to what you can call a sham election, shambolic you’d call them,” said Odinga.
“Our position is to carry out a credible election in 90 days. We told people to stay at home and they heeded our call. The President and his deputy have lost the mandate to speak on behalf of Kenyans. They only speak for themselves,” he was quoted by local news portal Daily Nation.
Now anger surrounding the election could spark further deadly violence between rival ethnic groups in a nation where party loyalty is ethnic-based, say observers.
Voting last Thursday was marred by skirmishes between police and stone-throwing opposition supporters, who prevented polling stations from opening in four pro-Odinga counties, forcing election officials to cancel altogether the exercise.
Around 50 people have been killed, mostly by security forces, since the original August vote, raising fears of sustained violence only a decade after 1,200 people were killed in serious ethnic fighting triggered by another disputed presidential election.
Legal challenges to the re-run are expected. If they fail to provide a clear path out of the crisis, including an order for another repeat election, many Kenyans fear protracted political stalemate between the Kenyatta and Odinga camps.