On October 30, Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election for the second time in three months.
Kenyans went to the polls for a rerun of the presidential election on October 26, after the country’s Supreme Court had nullified the result of an earlier vote held in August.
The incumbent Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote in the repeat – but with the opposition boycotting the election, turnout was low.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow speaks with Deputy President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga on the legitimacy of October’s vote and what’s next for Kenya.
“Kenya is progressively becoming a stable progressive democratic state that appreciates that we can have differences of opinion that do not necessarily become division,” Ruto tells Adow. “Thursday (October 26) was historic, that we actually managed to deliver a rerun or a repeat presidential election, which was unfortunately boycotted by the opposition.”
“They had good reason to boycott. It was obvious, the writing was on the wall: they had lost the election on August 8, they would lose the election again – so they did.”
These were sham elections. In our view, they never took place
Kenya’s electoral commission, the IEBC, has said that voter turnout was 48 percent – a number that has since been revised down. But according to Ruto, the low turnout does nothing to delegitimise his win and that of his running mate, Kenyatta.
“Unlike other countries where it is mandatory to vote, in Kenya, it is a choice – you can vote or not vote. It is not true that [the Kenyans who did not vote] did not participate in the election. They participated in the election, but they elected not to vote,” he says. “So in fact, every Kenyan participated in this election.”
Part 2: Raila Odinga talks to Al Jazeera
Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had withdrawn from the election rerun, and had called on Kenyans to boycott the vote.
“These were sham elections. In our view, they never took place. This result should not be allowed to stand,” he tells Al Jazeera.
A belief that the electoral commission had taken insufficient action to ensure a level playing field led him to pull out. “Going back to the election was basically going for a repeat. That is doing the same thing, the same way, expecting different results. And we said that it was a charade, it was going to be a waste of time and a waste of our resources,” Odinga says.
Since the election, Odinga has said that the opposition would pursue “economic boycotts, peaceful procession, picketing and other legitimate forms of protest”.
Should Odinga accept defeat and move on?
“This is the easy option, this is what the government wants,” Rodinga says. “Then what happens next time? Next time, there will be complete apathy in this country. No Kenyans will turn up to vote at all.”
“Kenyans will get what they want. I am convinced that Kenyans’ spirit, the Kenyan dream as coined by the founding fathers from our nation shall be realised. Eventually, Kenyans will get the leaders that they deserve.”