Moi declared the victor of Kenya's flawed election

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Kenya's electoral commission yesterday declared that President Daniel arap Moi had won a fifth term in office, having opened an unbridgeable gap between himself and his divided opponents.

Although counting was continuing, figures yesterday showed Mr Moi had won 2,455,801 votes compared to 1,895,527 for the second-placed candidate, Mwai Kibaki of the Democratic Party. Charity Ngilu, running on a reformist and feminist platform, finished a disappointing fifth with less than half a million votes.

The President is to be sworn in today at a ceremony in Nairobi's Uhuru Park, despite calls from the two main opposition parties for the poll to be restaged owing to gross irregularities and and alleged vote-rigging by Mr Moi's Kenyan African National Union.

The call from has been rejected, however, not only by the government but also by church and non-governmental organisations that are normally critical of the authorities.

Rev Mutava Musyimi, of the National Council of Churches, agreed the playing pitch had not been level from the outset but said there was no reason to be believe the result would otherwise have been very different. Kenyan churches fielded thousands of election observers and Rev Musyimi said that although there were reports of abuses, most monitors had been satisfied with the process.

One Western monitor said foreign observers were likely to say they believed the election, though flawed, represented the will of the people. He said the opposition had failed to unite and campaigned badly, allowing Mr Moi to increase his share of the vote - up four points to 40.2 per cent since the last elections in 1992 - at a time when his popularity seems low.

l President Moi yesterday urged Kenyans to work together to rebuild their country.

"I am asking Kenyans to start a new chapter altogether, and attend to the more serious problems that face the country," he told the Associated Press.

Mr Moi's critics have blamed him for the corruption that has cost Kenya international loans and ruined roads, schools and hospitals.