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President-elect rallies Kenyans

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

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President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta rallied Kenyans to put behind a divisive campaign, pledging his Government would work for all citizens and in the interest of the nation.

In a 20-minute acceptance speech following his victory, Uhuru thanked supporters, reached out to opponents and assured that his administration will pursue good international relations.

The Jubilee presidential candidate secured 50.07 per cent of the vote, according to the final tally by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Uhuru, the son of Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta, garnered 6,173,433 votes against his closest opponent CORD’s Raila Odinga who received 5,340,546 votes.

“My pledge as President is that I will work on behalf of all the citizens of Kenya regardless of party affiliation.

My Government will act without fear or favour in the interest of our nation,” said Uhuru in a victory speech at the Jubilee Media Centre at the Catholic University of East Africa accompanied by Deputy President- elect William Ruto.

Raila has since rejected the outcome of what he described as “another tainted election” and vowed to petition the Supreme Court.

“It is democracy on trial,” Raila said in a press conference shortly after the IEBC declared Uhuru the winner. “Let the Supreme Court decide whether they are lawful. We are confident the court will restore the faith of Kenyans in the democratic rule of law.”

The court petition, which will be heard within 14 days, will delay the swearing-in of the President-elect. If the petition is unsuccessful, Uhuru will be sworn into office on April 16, according to a power transfer schedule the State has planned.

Earlier at 2.43pm yesterday, IEBC chairman Isaac Hassan had declared Uhuru the winner of the closely contested March 4 presidential vote, ending five dramatic days of wait.

Besides securing 50 per cent plus- one of the total votes cast, Hassan said Uhuru obtained at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in 32 counties, eight more than the constitutional requirement.

“I therefore declare Mr Uhuru Kenyatta the duly elected President of the Republic of Kenya,” Hassan pronounced to a rapturous roar at the Bomas of Kenya National Tallying Centre.

Twenty-four minutes later, the President-elect and the Deputy President- elect William Ruto made their way into the auditorium to receive their certificates from the electoral chief to wild cheers from supporters.

That marked a transformation of their lives evident as trappings of State power and elaborate security befitting the presidency were placed at their disposal.

The two held a brief meeting at the VIP lounge from where the change in status would become evident.

Ruto, who was the first to emerge alongside his wife, Rachael, and daughter, found a ring of security officers on hand.

“Sir, from here, things have changed,” a police Inspector told Ruto as supporters mobbed him. “We will not allow you to shake hands with people anyhow.”

The Deputy President-elect and family were barred from using his personal vehicle and were instead ushered into a dark blue Toyota Lexus and driven off with unmarked police vehicles in tow.

Minutes later, Uhuru emerged surrounded by hawk-eyed presidential security guards and he was ushered into a Mercedes Benz with the Kenyan flag fluttering in the wind.

Police outriders led the way as his convoy drove to the Jubilee Media Cen- tre at the Catholic University where hundreds of supporters cheered on.

In his victory speech, Uhuru — who wore a dark suit, white and maroon tie — was magnanimous, urging supporters to be “modest in victory” and those who had voted for his opponents to “keep in mind the broader victory of Kenya.”

Uhuru, whose The National Alliance party, struck a coalition deal with Ruto’s United Republican Party, and thereafter brought on board Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala, said he would run an all-inclusive government.

“This is not about me, it is about you the people of Kenya. You have put your faith not in one man but in a team,” he said, sparking cheers from inside the auditorium and outside where a larger crowd followed proceedings on giant screens.

He also assured that his administration would forge closer ties with the international community, given apprehension arising from perceived opposition to his presidency by Western nations.

“The international community will respect the sovereignty and democratic will of the people of Kenya,” he added, to another round of applause. “We have the desire as a nation to live at peace with ourselves, neighbours, continent and the rest of the world.”

Afterwards, they addressed cheering supporters on the grounds outside the auditorium where they urged Raila to concede defeat, with Uhuru saying “Kenya needed to move on.”



 





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