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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Uhuru named winner, reaches out to Raila

President Uhuru Kenyatta shares a light moment with Deputy President William Ruto soon after being declared winners in the August 8 elections at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on August 11. /MONICA MWANGI
President Uhuru Kenyatta shares a light moment with Deputy President William Ruto soon after being declared winners in the August 8 elections at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on August 11. /MONICA MWANGI

President Uhuru Kenyatta has been reelected following a bitterly contested election.

In his acceptance speech on Friday night, he extended an olive branch to NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga and the opposition, which had rejected the election results as rigged and walked out.

"We shall work together, partner together, grow together and develop this country together," Uhuru said to cheers.

He called for peace and pledged to work equally for all Kenyans.

"Elections come and go. Kenya is here to stay. Let us remember we are brothers ad sister You neighbor is still your neighbor," he said.

The declaration sparked riots in parts of Kibera in Nairobi and in Nyanza, especially in Kisumu and Migori counties. Gunshots were heard and police battled protesters.

Kenyatta, in office since 2013, took 54.3 per cent of the vote, Raila took 44.7 per cent.

He was declared winner of Tuesday's presidential election,garnering 8,203,290 votes Raila's 6,762,224.

NASA disputed the results, calling the process a "charade" but ruled out going to court.

After the official IEBC announcement, Kenyatta said observers had ensured a "free, fair and credible election".

But the opposition rejected the results even before they were declared, calling the process a "charade".

International observers have endorsed the election.

Earlier, Odinga's supporters said he had won, and published their own figures. The electoral commission said this was "illegal and premature", and said basic mathematical errors had been made.

Many observers fear a repeat of the violence after the disputed election 10 years ago when more than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced.

Odinga's chief agent Musalia Mudavadi, said before the results announcement that its concerns about the poll had not been adequately addressed.

NASA had complained of fraud and hacking.

Deputy chief agent James Orengo said the coalition would not be taking its issues to court, raising the spectre of street protests.

He hit out at international observers, including former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former US Secretary of State John Kerry, casting doubt on their impartiality.

"Nobody should think this is the end of the matter," he said.

Last night President Kenyatta said he will serve all Kenyans equally to ensure fairness and prosperity and without any bias.

"It is their right to bee served by their government," he said.

"We cannot fight over an election. There is no reason to fight. The country remains united and works together and we must shun division."

According to results announced by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, Uhuru scored at least 25 per cent of the total votes in a record 35 counties

“Having fulfilled the requirement by law, and having garnered 8,203,290 votes, representing 54.2 per cent of the votes cast and 25 per cent in 35 counties, I wish to declare Hon Uhuru Kenyatta president elect,” Chebukati said, sending the Bomas auditorium into frenzy.

Raila secured 25 per cent of the total vote in 29 counties.

Earlier, enraged Opposition representatives stormed out of the Bomas of Kenya and mulled calling for street action.

“Going to court for us is not an alternative. We have been there before,” Orengo declared, rubbishing the IEBC results as “a charade and a disaster”.

But Kenyatta called for cooperation with the opposition, saying, "We are not enemies.|

“I extend a hand of friendship and cooperation, knowing fully well that this country needs all of us specifically, the Rt Hon Raila Amolo Odinga. I reach out to you, all your supporters, we shall work together, row together so that we can build the nation together,” Uhuru said

“Elections come and go but Kenya is here forever,” he said

Former Minister Joseph Nyagah came third in the grueling presidential contest garnering 42,259 votes followed by Abduba Dida who got 38,093. Lawyer Aukuro Aukot secured 27,311.

Joseph Kavigah got 15,482 votes, Michael Wainaina garnered 13,257, Cyrus Jirongo came last with 11,705 votes.

Uhuru achieved a decisive victory in his stronghold and invaded what were once opposition zones.

Kenyatta also beat Raila in many regions, initially seen as battlegrounds.

For example, Uhuru won in Nyamira, Kajiado, Narok and performed exceptionally well in Bungoma and Kisii counties.

While Raila maintained lead in Western Kenya, Coast and Nyanza, Uhuru secured a substantial chunk of the vote, dimming Raila's chances.

Uhuru’s Jubilee Party has firm control of the Parliament with a super majority in both houses.

None of the other six candidates managed to secure 25 per cent in any of the 47 counties.

But NASA principal Musalia Mudavadi of ANC and Orengo stormed out of an earlier meeting with IEBC chiefs.

“Going to court for us is not an alternative. We have been there before,” Orengo declared, rekindling memories of the 2013 petition, which Raila lost.

In a clear demonstration the opposition could call for mass action, Orengo said they have great hope with the Kenyan people. He called the IEBC an arm of government.

“No force on earth can go against the might of the people united for a cause. So nobody should think this is the end of the matter. Nobody should make us feel guilty,” Orengo said.

Mudavadi said the IEBC had failed to respond to their numerous issues. He promised to address supporter on the way forward and castigated IEBC for engaging in what he termed]s a public relations exercise.

NASA claimed IEBC had assured them that all their concerns including alleged discrepancies in presidential results would be addressed before the big announcement.

At a press conference earlier, NASA demanded IEBC make public the information in its computer servers and promised to accept its verdict.

The opposition claim that actual and complete data captured in the IEBC servers shows Raila beat Uhuru by a huge margin before the system was hacked and the results manipulated.

“We have given an offer to the commission and a challenge to the commission that in order to bring this matter to an end we should be given access to their servers, not just us even jubilee, religious leaders, the media, that we should look at their servers retaining the raw data coming from the field particularly,” Orengo said

“Our note of finality is this, if they can open those servers and we all look at it, we are prepared to accept the results as contained in those servers, that is the challenge we have also given religious leaders the commission to access.”

Orengo singled out Commonwealth observer mission head and Ghana's ex-President John Mahama for allegedly harbouring bitterness against Raila for his friendship with the current Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.

“He [Mahama] is not happy that our candidate has a relationship with the current President of Ghana,” Orengo said.

“President Thabo Mbeki is a great Patriot, I admit of South Africa but I think he should have been vetted. The AU should have determine whether he was the right person to come here and the same goes to John Kerry. I mean these characters when you hear their names they look like they are from heven but they also have a history which need to be looked at,”

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