President Uhuru Kenyatta has won a second term in office, garnering 54.2 per cent of votes, according to final results declared by the electoral commission on Friday night.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Mr Kenyatta the winner of the presidential race at exactly 10.17pm, EAT.
“He attained 25 percent of votes cast in 35 counties ” Mr Chebukati, the returning officer of the presidential election, said at Bomas of Kenya— the national tallying centre, in the capital Nairobi
The announcement was met with celebrations in the strongholds of Mr Kenyatta’s party, Jubilee, and protests amongst some Nasa supporters.
President Kenyatta won with 8.2 million votes compared to 6.8 million votes for his closest rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
Mr Kenyatta, riding on a well-oiled campaign machinery, prevailed despite persistent dissatisfaction with the economy and a hard-fought challenge by Mr Odinga.
Mr Odinga was at Bomas prior to the announcement where he held a meeting with Mr Chebukati’s team and spelled out his demands before the poll results are made public.
He demanded access to the electoral commission’s servers as a condition to accepting the outcome of the election, which he claimed was rigged in Mr Kenyatta’s favour.
Two hours to the announcement, Mr Odinga’s Chief Agent Musalia Mudavadi and deputy James Orengo told a press conference that IEBC had not addressed their concerns, and that Nasa would boycott the results declaration.
“They have told us that we will get a response after the announcement… clearly they are not willing to address them, ” Mr Mudavadi said.
They made good their threat moments later and, accompanied by Mr Odinga, stormed out of Bomas and left the venue.
Mr Orengo said lodging a petition at the Supreme Court, the top court in the land, would not be an option for Nasa should IEBC announce the results against their wishes.
Direct negotiations with IEBC and peaceful protests, he said, were the only ways to resolve the standoff that persisted for the better part of Friday, delaying the much-awaited announcement to the chagrin of expectant Kenyans.
“Court is not an alternative… we have been there before,” he said.
The announcement started off with the national anthem and a minute of silence in honour of slain IEBC ICT Manager Chris Msando and a poll official in Nyanza.
Mr Msando was murdered days to August 8 General Election, casting a long shadow on the the East African nation’s second General Election under the Constitution promulgated in 2010.
There was an awkward moment at Bomas after Mr Chebukati almost announced the results before they could be signed, a grave illegality.
It took more than 10 minutes for all presidential agents to ink the documents before he resumed his speech.
He read the results from for all counties— starting with County 001, Mombasa, to County 048, Diaspora— outlining the performance of all the the eight candidates who ran for State House.
The other candidates in Kenya’s high-stakes poll were Joseph Nyagah, Mohamed Dida, Ekuru Aukot, Japheth Kavinga, Shakhalaga Khwa Jirongo and Michael Wainaina.
Mr Nyaga and Mr Dida came a distant third and fourth with less than 0.3 per cent of valid votes.
The rest of the candidates managed less than 0.2 per cent.
Mr Kenyatta’s supporters were enthusiastic before, during and after the announcement after provisional results put him in the lead.
They occasionally clapped as Mr Chebukati made his remarks at Bomas as other sang and danced at Kenyatta International Convention Centre where Mr Kenyatta made his victory speech moments after being declared winner.
Voting went off smoothly on Tuesday, despite widespread fears of violence.
Many commentators, however, have returned a verdict that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission conducted a largely credible election.
The opposition has raised several challenges on the result – including claims that the IEBC tally system was hacked and that in some places election materials were mishandled leading to suspicions on the veracity of the results.
Mr Chebukati responded to the Nasa claims with a rebuttal that they had investigated the reports and remain confident that the results they have released reflect the true wish of Kenyans as expressed in ballots across the country.