Kenya gets new president, but uncertainties stay

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Nairobi, March 9: Confirming the nightmares of most of the Kenyans, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has won Kenya's presidential election by the narrowest of margins.

He won 50.3 percent of the vote and avoided a runoff but still faces scrutiny of the world. He faces charges of committing crimes against humanity for instigation riots after the election of 2007.

International elections observers have declared the election transparent despite a host of technical problems. The computers generating the electronic transmission of results broke down, forcing the electoral commission to manually count the votes.

Raila Odinga

Kenyatta reached the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff by only 4,099 votes out of more than 12.3 million cast. Kenyatta's main rival and Prime Minister Raila Odinga secured 43.28 percent of the vote in an election contested by eight candidates.

According to preliminary results posted early on Saturday, which is a tight finish and is almost certain to spark controversy and will probably result in a legal challenge from Odinga.

For the Kenyans, any challenge undertaken in courts is okay but not on the streets. In the previous presidential election in 2007, Odinga declared that he was cheated out of victory, triggering ethnic violence that killed more than 1,000 Kenyans and drove several hundred thousand more from their homes. It crippled Kenya's economy and shattered its image.

That stain haunts Kenyatta's victory. It would complicate Kenya's relationships with the United States and European nations, which have already warned that there could be consequences if Kenya is led by someone indicted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Both Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, are accused of financing and instigating ethnic mobs who carried out killings after the 2007 election. Their trial was scheduled for next month but has been postponed to July 9.

Kenya is in for anxious and uncertain times even after a peaceful elections.

OneIndia News

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