President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta said yesterday he was open to dialogue with the opposition but only after all constitutional options related to the presidential election are exhausted.
“My victory today is part of a process likely to be subjected to the test at the courts,” he said. “People are talking about dialogue but I want to state that I will wait for the Supreme Court process before engaging anyone in dialogue over national cohesion,” Uhuru said after he was declared the winner of the just-concluded repeat presidential election.
At the same time, the President revealed he declined to sign the Election Act Amendment Bill into law, after considering that it did not have the universal goodwill of Kenyans.
He said he was advised it would be unfair to change the rules in the middle of the game. Though the road to October 26 had been bumpy and rough, President Uhuru said he credited the success to Kenyans’ resilience, democracy and constitutional institutions.
“The road to October 26 was not easy. Parliament took the legislative critic by the Supreme Court very seriously,” he said. He pointed out that his victory of 8.2 million votes in the August 8 election had not been challenged, even as the Supreme Court annulled the election based on non-compliance with result transmission processes.
He added that by getting 7.5 million votes in the October 26 fresh poll, his supporters had re-validated his mandate. Uhuru said he was aware that the process could now be headed elsewhere (the Supreme Court) but once those challenging the results are through with it, only then would he welcome any talks. He told Kenyans to forget their political differences and move forward in building the nation.
“Your neighbour will remain your neighbour despite the political outcome. Uhuru and running mate William Ruto garnered 7,483,895 votes, which is 98.27 per cent of the valid votes cast in the fresh election held last week and which his main challenger, Nasa’s Raila Odinga, boycotted.
The declaration was, however, made without results from 25 constituencies in Nyanza that failed to vote on Thursday due to disruptions caused by violence. The election took place in 265 of Kenya’s 290 constituencies as well as the diaspora with over 4,000 Kenyans in East and South Africa casting their ballots.
Of those 266 constituencies where the elections were conducted, President Uhuru had 7,483, 895 votes, just 719,395 shy of the 8,203, 290 he had in the annulled poll of August 8. And with 7,616, 21 valid votes cast in the 266 constituencies that voted, the voter turnout was 38.84 per cent, while taken against the 19,611,423 registered voters in Kenya.
The August 8 election had a 79.17 per cent voter turnout, a drop from the 86 per cent in the 2013 election won by President Uhuru against Odinga. Declaring President Uhuru the winner, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said the conditions that had been set by the Supreme Court for the repeat poll were met adding that the fresh election was credible, free and fair.
In his acceptance speech, President Uhuru said he would respect all the constitutional provisions, including the clauses that grant an opportunity to those dissatisfied with the results to move to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome.
“My victory today is part of a process likely to be subjected to the test at the courts,” Uhuru told the gathering that included members of the diplomatic corps, local and international observers. He added: “The rule of good law does not discriminate.
It gives the right to vote or not to vote.” The Head of State hit at Raila for boycotting and failing to fully honour a court ruling that granted his plea to invalidate the election. “You cannot choose to exercise a right and then abscond the consequences of that action,” Uhuru said in reference to Raila.
Raila announced he had pulled out of the election, after accusing the electoral body of not being ready to conduct the poll and placing a raft of other conditions.
He demanded among other things, the sacking of senior electoral officials and change of both the ballot paper printer and the poll’s technology provider. Uhuru said he took the painful decision to take part in the repeat election even after he had won squarely and with a big margin.