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Uhuru win leaves Kenya at a crossroads

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Jubilee Party's Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term as Kenya's president against his closest rival Raila Odinga of NASA.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has won a second term in office, after garnering 54.2% of votes, according to final results declared by the electoral commission on Friday evening, leaving a country divided down the middle.Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Mr Kenyatta the winner of the presidential race at 10.17pm.

“He attained 25 percent of votes cast in 35 counties,” Mr Chebukati, the returning officer of the presidential election, said at Bomas of Kenya. The announcement was met with celebrations in the strongholds of Mr Kenyatta’s party, Jubilee, and protests and gloom among some NASA supporters.

President Kenyatta won with 8.2 million votes compared to 6.8 million votes for his closest rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA). Mr Kenyatta, riding on a well-oiled campaign machinery, prevailed despite persistent dissatisfaction with the economy and a hard-fought challenge by Mr Odinga.

Meticulous planning

President Kenyatta’s re-election is a culmination of meticulous planning and long hours on the campaign trail that left the opposition playing catch up.

The consolidation of several Jubilee coalition parties into a single monolith, unashamed use of the government machinery, holding out development sweeteners, and a ruthless social media propaganda campaign, delivered victory to Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto ticket.

With elections out of the way, the president will probably want to move swiftly on the promises that could secure his legacy.

He faces the challenge of sustaining the development momentum at a time the economy is hard-pressed and public debt edging towards worrying levels.

He also starts his second stint in office with a country split down the middle after a bitter election campaign whose outcome has been disputed by the opposition. (DAILY NATION)

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