Uhuru Kenyatta Declared President in Kenya
Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president and a suspect at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing crimes against humanity was declared President-elect by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Mr. Kenyatta narrowly secured 50.07% of the vote to avoid a run off against Raila Odinga who came a second. Citing electoral inconsistencies, Mr. Odinga did not concede defeat. He plans to challenge the decision in the courts.
If the result withstands Odinga’s challenge, a win for Kenyatta would represent the most stunning articulation to date of a renewed mood of self-assertion in Africa. Half a century ago, Africa echoed with the sound of anti-colonial liberation. Today, 10 years of dramatic and sustained economic growth and a growing political maturity coinciding with the economic meltdown in the West and political dysfunction in Washington and Europe, has granted Africa’s leaders the authority and means to once again challenge Western intervention on the continent, whether it comes in the form of foreign diplomatic pressure, foreign aid, foreign rights monitors or even foreign correspondents.
In his victory speech, Kenyatta said: “Today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy; the triumph of peace; the triumph of nationhood. Despite the misgivings of many in the world, we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations. That is the real victory today. A victory for our nation. A victory that demonstrates to all that Kenya has finally come of age. That this, indeed, is Kenya’s moment.” He also pledged to work together with his political opponents with “friendship and cooperation.” “Kenya needs us to work together,” he said. “Kenya needs us to move on.” In a pointed warning to the international community, he added: “We expect the international community [to] respect the sovereignty and democratic will of the people of Kenya. The Africa star is shining brightly and the destiny of Africa is now in our hands.”
There still lingers concerns that Mr. Kenyatta’s election will attract western condemnation and possible sanctions. Mr. Kenyatta, and his running mate and Deputy President-elect, Mr. William Ruto, who also faces charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC, have pledged to cooperate with the international court.
Eric Moses Gashirabake
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