World leaders have sent congratulatory messages to Kenya’s President-elect, William Ruto, after he was declared the winner of last Tuesday’s election.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati announced Dr Ruto the winner on Monday afternoon after an hours-long delay.
Dr Ruto defeated his closest challenger, Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja, by garnering 7.1 million votes, representing 50.49 per cent of the total valid votes, against the latter’s 6.9 million, or 48.85 per cent.
In East Africa, Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, South Sudan's Salva Kiir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent their messages of goodwill, wishing Dr Ruto and Kenyans well in the next phase.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa also congratulated the DP.
General Ndayishimiye, the current chairman of the East African Community (EAC), congratulated the President-elect and Kenyans.
“My heartfelt congratulations to the President-elect William Ruto and the people of the Republic of Kenya for holding free, fair and peaceful elections. We urge all the parties to preserve peace, and disputes be resolved by existing competent legal mechanisms. Idumu jumuiya yetu,” he said.
President Suluhu congratulated Kenyans for conducting a peaceful election.
“I congratulate the people of Kenya on their peaceful general election and the subsequent announcement of Dr William Ruto as President-elect. We look forward to continue working together with our brothers and sisters in Kenya to strengthen our historically close ties. Tuko pamoja,” President Suluhu said.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, President Museveni revealed that he had a phone call with his close friend Dr Ruto on Monday night and congratulated him upon his victory.
“On behalf of all Ugandans, I congratulate Your Excellency William Samoei Ruto upon your election as the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Further to my telephone call last night upon your victory, I wish to reassure you of Uganda’s commitment to continue partnering with Kenya in advancing regional and continental agenda through East African Community, African Union and other multilateral platforms.”
Wishing blessings for Kenya and East Africa at large, President Museveni said he hoped both leaders would continue the cooperation they have had through the years.
“Our bilateral cooperation will score tremendous achievements and I look forward to working more closely with you.”
President Buhari also congratulated Dr Ruto and wished him a successful inauguration and tenure.
“I congratulate the President-Elect of Kenya, William Ruto, on his victory in the August 9, 2022 general elections. I wish him a successful inauguration and tenure in office, while also looking forward to more fruitful and robust engagements between Nigeria and Kenya,” he said.
He also commended Kenyans for the peaceful and transparent outcome of the elections.
He said this “demonstrates that the democratic process, values and principles remain the best way for the people to select their leaders and hold them accountable”.
He noted that Nigeria values Kenya as a strategic partner in the fight against terrorism and violence extremism.
“Between us lies a long history of friendship, economic and trade ties, and effective collaboration through various international organisations,” he said.
He also saluted President Uhuru Kenyatta for his statesmanship and exemplary leadership.
“Let me also salute President Uhuru Kenyatta for his statesmanship and exemplary leadership to the people of Kenya, & the profound legacies of his administration in infrastructure, education, healthcare reforms and tourism, as well as his strong influence & support on regional security,” he noted.
Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa was among foreign leaders who congratulated the President-elect.
Taking to Twitter on Monday, President Mnangagwa expressed confidence that Dr Ruto will be a reputable leader.
“Congratulations to William Ruto on his election as the next President of Kenya,” he said in a tweet.
“I have no doubt he will serve his country, his people and our continent with distinction.”
Somalia’s presidency also shared a message from President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who said he “warmly congratulates President-Elect William Samoei Ruto of the Republic of Kenya, following his election victory”.
“The president looks forward to working with William Ruto towards stronger bilateral relations and closer cooperation between Somalia and Kenya,” he said
Former Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo also sent a message: “I wish to offer my most sincere congratulations to President-Elect of Kenya H.E. William Ruto and the people of Kenya following the successful conclusion of the elections. You truly ran an enriching, overpowering campaign and may God help you fulfill your vision for your country.”
Ethiopia PM Abiy wished Dr Ruto all the best in his new journey.
“My congratulations William Ruto on your election as the President of the Republic of Kenya. I wish you best of luck in your endeavours ahead and we look forward to working closely with you on common bilateral and regional interests,” he wrote.
South Africa’s President Ramaphosa stated the importance of a peaceful Kenya for the prosperity of not only the East Africa region but also the continent.
“I offer my warm congratulations to President-Elect William Ruto of the Republic of Kenya. A prosperous and united Kenya is an important prerequisite for and contributor to a prosperous and peaceful continent. We look forward to working with you in pursuit of #TheAfricaWeWant,” he said.
President Kiir joined a growing list of leaders who sent congratulatory messages after Dr Ruto was declared duly elected as Kenya's fifth President.
President Kiir said in a statement that D Ruto's election demonstrates that a significant number of Kenyans identified with his message of a bottom-up approach to the economy.
“I write to congratulate you on your election as the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya,” the statement read.
“Now that the people have spoken, the enormous task ahead of you and your opponents, with whom you campaigned and offered different visions for Kenya, is to unite the people and channel their collective will towards the pressing needs of national development.”
Pledged to collaborate
President Kiir pledged to collaborate with Dr Ruto’s government on regional priorities.
Dr Ruto was declared President-elect after sailing past the ‘50 per cent plus one’ constitutional threshold that requires a winner in a presidential election to garner 50 per cent of votes cast and an additional vote to avoid a runoff.
The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate garnered 7,176,141 votes (50.49 per cent), beating his closest challenger, Mr Odinga, who received 6,942,930 (48.85 percent).
Mr Odinga, a veteran opposition leader, was making his fifth stab at the presidency with the backing of the ruling Jubilee Party, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
But Mr Odinga’s chief agent Kanchory Saitabao accused the IEBC and its chairman, Mr Chebukati, of tampering and tinkering with the election results.
As Mr Chebukati announced the winner, four IEBC commissioners were at Serena Hotel disputing the presidential election results.
The four, led by commissioner Juliana Cherera, said they could not take ownership of the results because the handling of the outcome was “opaque”.
“We have done the 2022 General Election in the most efficient manner. We have ensured that all the challenges have been contained,” Ms Cherera said at a hastily arranged press briefing.
“But some things need to be put out there. As you can see, the four of us are here and not at Bomas, where the results are going to be announced, because of the opaque nature of how this phase has been handled,” Cherera said.
She added: “We therefore cannot take ownership of this result that is going to be announced.”
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Nairobi has congratulated the people of Kenya for exercising their right to vote in last week’s elections.
Saying that the electoral process was an important milestone, the embassy also urged all parties to work together to peacefully resolve any remaining concerns about the election through existing dispute resolution mechanisms.
“We ask all political party leaders to continue to urge their supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence during the electoral process.”
The embassy also commended Kenyan citizens for shaping robust discussions throughout the campaign period.
“We applaud the efforts of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, security forces, and all electoral institutions to organize a peaceful and orderly voting and counting process,” the embassy noted.