After days of nail biting and anxiety, William Ruto is the new Kenya president.
The deputy president was announced winner of the tightly contested race by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission a few minutes ago.
He garnered 50.49% against Odinga’s 48.85%.
Ruto’s win is a kick in the teeth for President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Odinga.
Ruto and Kenyatta had formed a loose alliance in 2013 that saw them control State House for two terms. However in 2018 following the famous “handshake” Uhuru ditched Ruto for Odinga.
Ruto also becomes the first presidential candidate in Kenya to to win the election at the first time of asking. Kibaki failed in 1997 while Kenyatta failed in 2002.
Odinga’s loss means he has lost against four of Kenya’s five presidents. In 1997 he lost to Arap Moi, in 2007 he lost to Mwai Kibaki, in 2013 and 2017 he lost to Uhuru Kenyatta, now he has lost to Ruto, who was his running mate in 2007.
Hundreds of police officers in riot gear were seen patrolling the streets of Nairobi, fearing an eruption of violence.
Raila has always insisted that if he loses the election, he will accept the results. It remains to be seen whether he will appeal the result like he did in 2013 and 2017.
Ruto is expected to be sworn in two weeks from now in case there is no legal challenge to his election. He will govern with Rigathi Gachagua as his deputy.
The election was a litmus test for the East African economic power, with many recalling post-election violence that led to deaths of over 1,000 people in 2007.
Civil society observers, police, religious leaders and others have described this election as peaceful.
Story is being updated…