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Kenyatta wins with slim majority

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is the winner of Kenya’s presidential election with 50.07 per cent, the country’s election commission said.

There can be victory without victims

The official announcement came five days after the nation held its first national election since its 2007 vote sparked two months of tribe-on-tribe attacks that killed more than 1,000 people.

Jubilant supporters of Mr Kenyatta filled Kenya’s streets to celebrate their candidate’s victory.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding President, is indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is expected to create problems with the country’s Western allies.

Mr Kenyatta’s defeated rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, planned to hold a news conference to reveal his next step.

If Mr Kenyatta’s victory holds, the son of Jomo Kenyatta will become the fourth President of Kenya since its independence from British colonial rule in 1963.

Mr Kenyatta’s win could greatly affect Kenya’s relations with the West. The President-elect faces charges at the ICC for his alleged role in directing some of Kenya’s 2007 post-election violence. His running mate, William Ruto, faces similar charges.

The US has warned of “consequences” if Kenyatta wins, as have several European countries. Britain has said it would have only essential contact with the Kenyan Government if Mr Kenyatta is President.

Government officials have been working for months to avoid the post-election violence that brought Kenya to the brink of civil war five years ago, when more than 600,000 people were forced from their homes.

The election commission yesterday held a dramatic midday televised announcement where officials appealed to Kenyans to accept the results with grace.

“There can be victory without victims,” said Ahmed Issack Hassan, the chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Francis Eshitemi, an Odinga supporter in Nairobi’s largest slum, Kibera, said it was clear his candidate had lost in a free and fair election and that he expected him to concede.

“The problem is that Raila doesn’t have the numbers. There were a few irregularities, but the gap between Raila and Uhuru is big,” he said.

Isaac Khayiya, another Odinga supporter, said: “This time we want post-election peace, not war. We will be the ones to suffer if there is violence. For them – Uhuru, Ruto, Odinga – they have security and they are rich.”

The final results showed that Mr Kenyatta won 6,173,433 votes – 50.07 per cent – to Mr Odinga’s 5,340,546 – 43.3 per cent. More than 12,330,000 votes were cast, a record turnout of 86 per cent registered voters.

Mr Kenyatta’s task was not simply to beat Mr Odinga, but to get over the 50 per cent mark and avoid a head-to-head run-off. Eight candidates ran for President. Mr Odinga’s camp has indicated legal challenges could be filed. Monday’s presidential vote proceeded mostly peacefully, but the counting process has been stymied by myriad breakdowns and errors.

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