Ruto won with 50.49% of the vote, narrowly defeating veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was running in his fifth election.
He will become Kenya’s fifth president since independence, having won the seat on his first try. Ruto’s party, Kenya’s First Coalition, won the majority of seats in the Senate of Kenya, which ranks second in the National Assembly.
The announcement of the results was delayed more than two hours past the constitutional deadline, and the country’s electoral commission split after four officials recanted the results of commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The opposing officials held their own press conference elsewhere, disputing the official results. IEBC Vice Chair Juliana Cherera was among those who disagreed with the results, but provided no evidence of wrongdoing.
Earlier Monday, rival Ruto Odinga’s coalition also rejected the election results before they were announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission of Kenya (IEBC).
Odinga’s chief agent, Saitabao Kanchori, told the press outside the national polling center in Nairobi that they had not yet been able to verify the final result with their own tally.
“Once we see them, we want to test them, when we test them, we can know and tell the Kenyan people, because a result that is not verifiable is not a result,” Kanchori told reporters awaiting the results. ad.
The National Accounting Center briefly descended into chaos shortly after Odinga’s coalition rejected the results, fights broke out and chairs were thrown into the building.
“It’s not over until it’s over”
Ruto thanked the people of Kenya for voting for him as the country’s next leader in his first speech after he was declared the winner of the election.
“There are no losers in this election. The people of Kenya won because we raised the political bar. The people of Kenya are the biggest winners,” he said.
He expressed his “gratitude” to the Kenyan citizens “who refused to be cooped up in tribal cocoons.”
He also thanked his rival and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga and said, “During the campaign, we discussed issues and tried to sell the agenda to the people of Kenya.”
“It is God who brought us here… my team and I will make sure that the sacrifices made by many Kenyans are not in vain… I will lead a transparent, open, democratic government and will work with the opposition against how much they provide oversight of my administration,” — he added.
The results of the presidential election in Kenya on Monday evening caused a mixed reaction. In Eldoret, live photos from Ruto’s hometown showed large crowds celebrating and applauding his victory.
But in Kisumu, Odinga’s stronghold, protests erupted. The live broadcast showed dozens of protesters against the election results, burning tires and clouds of smoke in the air.
But the populist “man of the people” Ruto, who rejected political dynasties and played on anti-elite sentiments in the country, endeared him to voters.
He was able to transcend Kenya’s traditionally dynastic politics to defeat Odinga, the son of Kenya’s first vice president.
During the campaign, Ruto described himself as a “top businessman”, citing his humble beginnings as a chicken salesman who worked his way to the top of Kenyan politics.
Political scientist Herman Manyora told CNN ahead of the election that “Ruto has excited the youth … in an almost euphoric way.”
Ruto, a former professor with a PhD in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, promised as president to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “lift ordinary citizens.”
He will be pressured to come up with solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including mounting debt, high food and fuel prices and massive youth unemployment.
Ruto has a long and varied history in Kenyan politics, and in 2013 he stood trial with President Kenyatta before the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against humanity following the deadly violence in the 2007 elections. However, the charges were later dropped.