President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, receives the sword of the Commander In Chief of the Kenya Armed Forces. Photo: Reuters
Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenya’s president on Tuesday.
The March election was largely peaceful, free of the widespread violence than marred the 2007 polls. However, it was not free from controversy, with the close result contested all the way to the supreme court, and with the winner indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes dating from the 2007 election.
Diplomatic relations between Kenya and the west took a pummelling over the course of the country’s presidential election, which saw Uhuru Kenyatta (left) – currently indicted by the International Criminal Court for inciting ethnic violence after the 2007 vote – edge his way to a first round win.
But with results in, will the diplomatic fallout be as bad as the rhetoric suggests? The answer is: probably not.
By Aly-Khan Satchu of Rich Management
It was Vinod Khosla, who bagged a billion at Sun MicroSystems in Silicon Valley, who said, ‘The future is not seen in the rear view mirror.’
I started my journey from Mombasa, spent half my life in the City of London running interest rate trading desks, packed my bags when I turned 40 and returned home in 2005.
The markets bet on a peaceful outcome, and so far, they’ve been proved right.
The Nairobi All-Share index jumped 3.2 per cent on Monday to a 5-year high of 115.37. But Kenya’s election is hardly done and dusted.
Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the winner in Kenya’s tense presidential elections, but Raila Odinga, the prime minister is refusing to accept the results, report Katrina Manson and William Wallis. The final tally put Mr Kenyatta 0.07 per cent above the threshold needed to prevent a run-off.
Diplomats and party officials waited for hours at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for a final declaration amid doubts over the final figures which even for much of the morning on the commission’s screens did not quite add up.
The race for Kenya’s presidency is heading to a nail-biting finish as the front-runner’s lead fades away and the votes counted show the decision going to a run-off for the first time since counting began four days ago.
With around 80 per cent of the constituencies declared, the early lead held by deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta has fallen away, slipping just below the 50 per cent mark needed to secure an outright win. His rival, prime minister Raila Odinga, is trailing with 44 per cent of the vote but results trickling in from Odinga strongholds are closing the gap. With 20 per cent of ballot papers left to count, the outcome could go either way.
A failure of electronic vote counting systems has delayed the announcement of preliminary results for the Kenyan presidential elections and caused a sharp drop in the value of the shilling.
The Kenyan currency had strengthened over the past week and remained steady during the election. But in the face of uncertainty over the outcome of the vote on Wednesday it fell 1.5 per cent against the US dollar, reaching 86.75 by the end of the day.
Partial results in the Kenyan presidential election show Uhuru Kenyatta ahead with 53 per cent of the vote as of 22h00 in Kenya (19h00 GMT), with rival Raila Odinga on 42 per cent.
However, with many votes still to be counted and a final result from the electoral commission not due until Wednesday, the balance could still tip, and Odinga issued a message to supporters that many of his major strongholds had yet to be counted.
With polling stations for the Kenyan presidential and parliamentary elections kept open beyond the official closing time to accommodate queuing voters, reports suggest the day has passed off peacefully in the main, with no sign of a repeat of the widespread conflicts which led to over 1,000 deaths in the wake of the 2007 election.
Nineteen people are reported to have died in clashes between secessionists and police in the coastal city of Mombasa and nearby towns. But the violence appears to have been limited to isolated flash-points.
Kenya’s presidential and parliamentary elections are held on Monday, with the two leading presidential candiates Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta very close in the polls. Markets are betting on a peaceful outcome, after the violence that marred the 2007 election – although at least 15 people were reported killed in two violent incidents.
Voters in the Dandora neighborhood of Nairobi queue outside their polling station before dawn.
The Kenyan presidential and parliamentary elections held on Monday have been portrayed as a big test of the country’s ability to hold a peaceful poll after the terrible violence that marred the 2007 vote.
But despite the fears of a return to ethnic unrest, the markets have given Kenya a boost in the run up. The stock market is up, and the currency has appreciated sharply.
Of course, all this could change fast – but for now investors are holding their nerve.
Africa may host some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but it also still suffers from coups, riots and messy elections, which can bring business to a sudden halt. Kenya’s general election in 2007 wreaked economic havoc. It will hold another in March – but this time around, political risk insurance is providing a modicum of security for foreign investors and locals alike.
Could there be a bigger show of bravado? While observers worry that Kenya’s economy could go awry come the March presidential elections, the monetary policy committee is feeling good.
For the fourth time in a row, it gave a vote of confidence to Kenya’s economy by lowering the central bank rate, this time taking it down 150 basis points to 9.50 per cent. This time last year it was 18 per cent. And not only did it lower the rate, but the 150bp reduction beat analyst predictions of 100bp.