Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly won Kenya’s presidential election, final results showed on Saturday, but his main rival refused to concede, raising tensions following the key poll.
Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s founding president and one of Africa’s richest men who faces an international crimes against humanity trial, narrowly got enough votes to avoid a second round runoff against rival Raila Odinga.
But while Kenyatta supporters danced in the streets after the provisional results were unveiled, followers of Odinga seethed.
The reactions of the rival camps are being closely watched in Kenya, where deadly violence erupted after disputed December 2007 elections, shattering the country’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
Kenyatta took 50.07% of the vote, according to the election commission figures, scraping by the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round by around 8,400 votes.
“I therefore declare Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected president of the Republic of Kenya,” Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said, confirming figures given earlier Saturday.
The 51-year-old outgoing deputy prime minister — charismatic and able to appeal to all classes — will become the first leader to take power whilst facing trial in The Hague-based International Criminal Court.
But Odinga, the outgoing PM in his third attempt at the top job, is expected to challenge the results in court.
Kenyatta received 6,173,433 votes out of a total 12,330,028 ballots cast, while Odinga got 43.31%.
Excited crowds of thousands chanting Kenyatta’s name poured onto the streets of towns across the country shortly after figures were released in the early hours of Saturday morning, dressed in the red colours of Kenyatta’s party.