Kenya’s president-elect William Ruto vowed Wednesday that his new administration would be transparent, saying there was no time to waste in meeting the “huge expectations” of Kenyans.
Ruto, who has served as deputy president for the last nine years, was on Monday declared the winner of the August 9 poll in a race against veteran politician Raila Odinga that went down to the wire.
“We will shortly be making steps to run a transparent, democratic but accountable government,” Ruto said after meeting with elected leaders from his Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) alliance.
“The expectations of the people of Kenya are huge and therefore we do not have the luxury of wasting any time,” Ruto said.
Kenya is one of the richest economies in Africa but is grappling with the fallout from the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, with surging inflation and high youth unemployment.
“We are going to govern in a manner that no sector of Kenya is left behind,” Ruto added, saying no one would be excluded, regardless of political or ethnic affiliations.
Measures to make his new administration more accountable would include enabling ministers to be questioned in parliament and ensuring that public servants cannot work for political parties.
Ruto appears to be moving ahead with his administration even though his defeated rival could make a Supreme Court challenge to the election results.
Odinga on Tuesday branded as a “travesty” the outcome of the largely peaceful poll which Ruto won by a margin of less than two percentage points.
The veteran opposition leader, who ran with the backing of his old foe President Uhuru Kenyatta, said the figures announced by the election commission were “null and void” and vowed to pursue “all constitutional and legal options”.
Any petition must be lodged by Monday with the Supreme Court, which then has 14 days to issue a ruling. If it orders an annulment, a new vote must be held within 60 days.
If there is no court petition, Ruto will take the oath of office in about two weeks’ time, becoming Kenya’s fifth president since independence from Britain in 1963.
Both Ruto’s camp and Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition claim to control parliament after the election.
Results so far show the National Assembly split almost down the middle between the two coalitions.
However votes still have to be held in four constituencies because of issues on polling, and the allegiances of a dozen MPs who stood as independents will be key.
No presidential poll outcome has gone uncontested in Kenya since 2002, and Odinga says he was already cheated of victory in the 2007, 2013, and 2017 elections.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the election after Odinga rejected Kenyatta’s victory. Dozens of people were killed by police in post-poll protests.