East Africa

William Ruto defeats Raila Odinga to become Kenya’s fifth president

During the campaign, Ruto described himself as the “hustler-in-chief,” citing his humble beginnings as a chicken seller who fought his way up to the top of Kenyan politics.

Kenya's Deputy President and president-elect William Samoei Ruto (Photo/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC) has declared current Deputy President Mr. William Samoei Ruto the country’s fifth president.

According to the official results announced by IBEC Chairperson Mr. Wafula Chebukati, William Ruto of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) got 7,176,141 votes (50.49) against his rival Raila Odinga (of Azimio Coalition) who garnered 6,942,930 votes (48.85%) translating to a difference of 233,211 votes in the tightly contested presidential race.

“William Samoei Ruto has been duly elected as the president of the Republic of Kenya,” Chebukati announced on Monday afternoon to thunderous applause from Ruto’s supporters who had been camping at the national tallying centre at Bomas since Tuesday, last week.

The other presidential candidates David Mwaure of Agano Party garnered 31,987 (0.23%) while George Wajackoyah of the Roots Party got 61,969 votes (0.44%).

Earlier on Monday before the announcement, the national tallying center at Bomas erupted into chaos shortly after Azimio officials rejected the results, with fighting breaking out and chairs being thrown in the building.

The country’s electoral commission was split over the results of the country’s election, as four officials disowned the commission’s Chairman Wafula Chebukati’s results, officials said at a separate press conference.

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The IEBC’s vice chair Juliana Cherera was among those disputing the results.

Hustler in Chief

During the campaign, Ruto described himself as the “hustler-in-chief,” citing his humble beginnings as a chicken seller who fought his way up to the top of Kenyan politics.

Ruto, a former teacher who holds a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, has pledged to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “uplift ordinary citizens” as president.

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He will come under pressure to provide solutions to Kenya’s pressing economic problems, including growing debt, high food and fuel prices, and mass youth unemployment.
Ruto has a long and varied history in Kenyan politics and was also tried alongside President Kenyatta in 2013 at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against humanity following deadly violence in the 2007 elections. However, the charges were later thrown out.

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