August 16, 2022(GMN) - After last-minute chaos that could foreshadow a court challenge, Kenya's electoral commission chairman declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner of the close presidential election over five-time contender Raila Odinga.

It was a triumph for Ruto, who shook up politics by appealing to struggling Kenyans on economic terms and not traditional ethnic ones.

Ruto received 50.49 percent of the votes, or more than 7.1 million ballots, electoral chairman Wafula Chebukati said, while Odinga received 48.85 percent in last Tuesday's peaceful election.

But just before the declaration, four of the seven electoral commissioners told journalists they could not support the "opaque nature" of the final phase of the vote verification process.

"We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced," vice-chair Juliana Cherera said, without giving details.

At the declaration venue, police moved to impose calm amid shouting and scuffles before Chebukati announced the official results. He later said the two commissioners who stayed behind with him had been injured.

Odinga's campaign alleged that unspecified "electoral offenses" were committed and that a winner was illegally declared without a quorum of commissioners.

"It is not over until it is over," Odinga's running mate, Martha Karua, a former justice minister, tweeted.

Crowds of people across Kenya exploded in jubilation in some places, and anger in others.

Odinga supporters shouted "No Raila, no peace!" and burned tires in the crowded Nairobi neighborhood of Kibera as night fell. Religious leaders pleaded for calm.

7 days to challenge results

Odinga's campaign has seven days to file a challenge in court, extending the uncertainty in Kenya, a country of 56 million people that is seen as crucial to regional stability. The Supreme Court will have 14 days to rule.

This is likely the final try for the 77-year-old longtime opposition figure, who was backed this time by former rival and outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta. Keyatta had fallen out with Ruto, his deputy, years ago.


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