NAIROBI (Reuters) - President Mwai Kibaki has beaten opposition leader Raila Odinga by a narrow margin to win re-election in Kenya’s closest ever vote, the head of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) said on Sunday.
Reaction from analysts, politicians and officials.
“We have real concerns at the irregularities reported by the EU (European Union) observers and others. We call on all Kenya’s political leaders and democratic institutions to work together to address those concerns. We will be discussing ways forward with our European and other partners in the coming weeks.”
“The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission. We support the commission’s decision.”
“The tallying process lacks credibility and despite the best efforts the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) has not fulfilled its responsibilities to create such a process.”
”I call upon Honourable Mwai Kibaki to exit from State House tomorrow ... It is a shame that a few people are robbing Kenyans of the democratic progress they have achieved.
The train of democracy in Kenya is unstoppable like the flow of the Nile. With the forces of reaction we will prevail whether they like it or not.”
“Short-term unrest is likely to ensue in Nairobi, Mombasa and Western province, following widespread accusations of vote-rigging, causing days of negative press and market volatility. Odinga’s concession, not at all guaranteed, would be critical to returning calm; his likely leadership role in parliament may push him towards conciliation. A Kibaki win will ensure policy continuity but the administration will face tremendous political headwinds in parliament.”
“This is the saddest day in the history of democracy in this country. It is a coup d‘etat. It is not about who wins, it is about the legitimacy and the credibility of the process.”
“The voting was fine but the tallying was a bit suspect. The ECK did not handle the situation in the best possible way. They were under pressure from both sides. The post-election parliament needs to look into the independence of the ECK. I don’t think Raila will concede defeat in the short term.”
”I urge all of us to set aside the passions that were excited by the election process and work together as one people, and work together with one purpose to build together a strong, united and equitable country.
”The freedom of choice, the openness and integrity of the electoral process, and the peaceful manner in which we conducted ourselves as people has raised Kenya’s democratic profile throughout the world.
“I urge all of us to set aside the divisive views and opinions we held during the campaign period, and instead embrace one another as brothers and sisters. After all, we belong to one family called Kenya.”
“From all the evidence there is, the presidential poll was very flawed and there is no real confirmation that Kibaki is the winner. We are in for a period of violence and turbulence, without doubt.”
“I think the big issue is are these results accurate? How credible are they and will Kenyans accept them or will Kenyans not accept them. In the short term, it will be difficult to reject these results unless one or more senior officials within the electoral commission rejects them. As long as the commission has no dissenting voice, the rest of us will have no basis of rejecting them because we are in no position to tell whether the allegations are true or not.”
“The president needs to be asked what an election was about. Was it about us participating in a process that meant nothing? If the president wanted to have himself announced as president, he should have done that five months ago. He has no right, legal or constitutional, to accept a verdict that says he is president when he knows very, very, very well that he has actually lost the election.”
”Given the controversy that accompanied the announcement of results by the Electoral Commission of Kenya, and the outbreak of unrest, a relief rally by markets is unlikely. Near term, if the unrest does not subside, the Kenya shilling is likely to come under pressure.
“The results are a very forceful appeal to the government to strengthen programs that directly benefit the poor in areas such as education, health and employment; continue sound private sector-led growth policies; and massively scale up the fight against corruption. There is a renewed urgency to this agenda, given the need to create more economic opportunities for all and to bring healing following the bruising presidential race.”
Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura, Wangui Kanina, Nicolo Gnecchi in Nairobi, Kim Dixon in Washington and Adrian Croft in London