President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to publicly congratulate President-elect William Ruto, two days after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commision (IEBC) announced the winner of the August 9, 2022 polls.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announced the President-elect had won the elections by garnering 7,176,141 votes, representing 50.59 percent of valid votes cast.
Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga was second with 6,942,930 votes (48 percent), according to
Odinga has refused to accept defeat and hinted at seeking redress at the Supreme Court.
President Kenyatta is not mandated by the constitution to congratulate his successor.
However, a congratulatory gesture from the Head of State to his successor points to a seal of approval and support from a diplomatic point of view.
In 2013 for example, then Kenya President Mwai Kibaki (now deceased) congratulated Uhuru Kenyatta as the President-elect and wished him all the best and God’s blessings in his new responsibility.
Said Kibaki at the time: “To Honourable Uhuru Kenyatta who has been declared President Elect by the IEBC, I express my most sincere congratulations. I wish him best wishes, success, and God’s blessings in the noble duty of governing our great country.”
Despite President Kenyatta’s perceived snub, Ruto has received congratulatory messages from far and wide, with African superpowers Nigeria and South Africa through presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa leading the line with goodwill messages.
Closer to home Uganda president Yoweri Museveni and Burundi’s president Evariste Ndayishimiye, the current chairman of the East African Community (EAC) have all congratulated the President-elect.
In a related development, President Kenyatta has remained mum since the start of the general elections on August 9, 2022.
His last public speech was a televised speech in his vernacular Kikuyu language on the eve of the election.
The Head of State’s last public appearance was when he cast his vote on August 9, and a meeting with the African Union and COMESA observers four days later.
The election observers emphasized that they have learnt a lot from the elections in Kenya and will share the good example of real democracy, institutional credibility and upholding the rule of law to build the “Africa we want”.
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) August 13, 2022
President Kenyatta openly supported Odinga in the elections.
But Ruto, in his acceptance speech, assured his political opponents he will not seek revenge against them for any misdeeds they supposedly committed.