Uhuru Kenyatta victory in Kenya's election faces challenge

The ballot has not provoked the violence of 2007, but the defeated Prime Minister plans to contest the ballot count

Nairobi

Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding president, won the presidential election by a tiny margin, with 50.03 per cent, a result that his rival says he now intends to challenge in court. Mr Kenyatta faces trial for crimes against humanity after the disputed 2007 presidential vote which unleashed tribal bloodletting.

If he is declared the winner by the election commission, which has still to announce the official result, Kenya will become the second African country after Sudan to have a sitting president indicted by the International Criminal Court. The United States and other Western states said before the vote that a Kenyatta win would complicate diplomatic ties with a nation viewed as a vital ally in the regional battle against militant Islam.

From the early hours of Saturday, Mr Kenyatta's supporters thronged the streets of Nairobi and his tribal strongholds. But tensions rose in the heartlands of Mr Kenyatta's rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who had 43.28 per cent of votes. "No Raila, no peace," Odinga supporters chanted as security forces stood by in Kisumu, where violence flared in 2007.

An adviser to Mr Odinga, who lost in 2007, said his candidate would not accept the result and will launch a legal challenge. "He is not conceding the election," Salim Lone told Reuters. Mr Odinga's camp had said that the ballot count was deeply flawed and had called for it to be halted. But it promised to pursue any disputes in the courts, not the streets.

International observers broadly said the vote and count had been transparent so far and the new electoral commission promised a credible vote. To win in the first round, a candidate needed more than 50 per cent of the votes. Mr Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister, achieved that but with a margin of only 4,100 votes of the more than 12.3 million ballots cast. Provisional figures displayed by the electoral commission showed that Mr Kenyatta won 6,173,433 votes out of a total of 12,338,667 ballots cast. Mr Odinga won 5,340,546 votes. The election commission, plagued by technical problems that slowed the count, took five days to announce the result.

Mr Odinga, 68, said he would have conceded if the vote was fair, adding that there was "rampant illegality" in the electoral process and that "democracy was on trial in Kenya".

"Any violence now could destroy this nation for ever, but it would not serve anyone's interests," he said. Both sides relied heavily on their ethnic groups in a nation where tribal loyalties mostly trump ideology at the ballot box. Mr Kenyatta is a Kikuyu, the biggest of Kenya's many tribes; Mr Odinga is a Luo.

How Western capitals deal with Kenya under Mr Kenyatta will depend on whether he and his running mate, William Ruto, who is also indicted, co-operate with the tribunal. Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto deny the charges and have said they will work to clear their names, though Mr Kenyatta had to fend off jibes that he would have to run government by Skype from The Hague.

Kenyans are hoping that this vote, which has until now passed off with only pockets of unrest on voting day, will restore their nation's reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies. The bloody upsurge after the last election left more than 1,200 dead. Church leaders in Kisumu, in the west of Kenya, which was devastated five years ago, sought to defuse tension this time. Many shops stayed closed as a precaution in Mombasa, another Odinga stronghold, but streets were calm.

Mr Odinga's camp had said even before the result that it was considering a court challenge. In contrast, in 2007, he said he could not trust the judiciary to act fairly.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
Out and about: for 'Glee' character Bert Hummel, having a gay son was a learning curve
lifeEven 'cool' parents need help parenting gay teens
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne celebrates after salvaging a point with the Southampton equaliser
footballAston Villa vs Southampton report
News
peopleJack Monroe accuses David Cameron of 'misty-eyed rhetoric'
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible