Kenyatta declared winner of Kenya poll
By Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa,ReutersNAIROBI--Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted for crimes against humanity, was declared winner of Kenya's presidential election on Saturday, but rival Raila Odinga said he would challenge the outcome in court and asked supporters to avoid violence.
March 10, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
Kenyatta, Kenya's richest man and son of Kenya's founding president, faces trial after the disputed 2007 presidential vote that unleashed a wave of tribal killings. His win avoided what could have been a divisive a run-off in April.
With 51-year-old Kenyatta in the top job, Kenya will become the second African country after Sudan to have a sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court.
The United States and other Western powers, big donors to the east African nation, said before the vote that a Kenyatta win would complicate diplomatic ties with a nation viewed as a vital ally in the regional battle against militant Islam.
Kenyatta said in his acceptance speech that he and his team would cooperate with international institutions and that he expected the international community to respect Kenya's sovereignty.
“We recognize and accept our international obligations,” he said.
After saying Kenyatta secured 50.07 percent of the vote, edging over the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Issack Hassan, announced: “I therefore declare Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected president of the Republic of Kenya.”
Shortly afterward, Hassan handed a certificate of the results to Kenyatta. Kenyatta thanked him and went to a nearby university campus in the capital where delivered his acceptance speech.
Celebrations started in the early hours of Saturday after provisional results indicated Kenyatta's victory. Supporters thronged streets of Nairobi and his tribal strongholds.
Violence flared briefly in Odinga's heartlands where police fired teargas at supporters of the defeated candidate who were throwing stones. “No Raila, no peace,” they chanted at the scene near the western city of Kisumu, which was devastated by violence after the 2007 vote.
Odinga, 68, said he would have conceded if the vote was fair, adding that there was “rampant illegality” in the electoral process and he would challenge it in court.
“Any violence now could destroy this nation forever, but it would not serve anyone's interests,” he said.
Odinga, who secured 43.3 percent of the vote, had also questioned the election process before the vote and during the count his party officials had called for tallying to stop.
The election commission, plagued by technical problems that slowed the count, took five days to announce the result. It dismissed accusations of irregularities. International observers broadly said the vote and count had been transparent so far and the electoral commission, which replaced a discredited body, said it delivered a credible vote.
Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister, climbed above 50 percent by just 8,400 of the more than 12.3 million votes cast.