President-elect Ruto avoided a runoff with Raila by just 69,000 votes

President-elect Ruto avoided a runoff with Raila by just 69,000 votes
President-elect Ruto avoided a runoff with Raila by just 69,000 votes. PHOTO/COURTESY

President-elect William Ruto avoided a runoff with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flagbearer Raila Odinga by just 69,000 votes, an analysis of the declared results shows.

Though the Kenya Kwanza Alliance candidate lost about a million votes compared to what he polled with President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017, he did enough to cross the line.

Five years ago, President Kenyatta garnered 8.2 million votes, or 54.27 per cent of the tally, which saw him cross the constitutional threshold of 50 per cent-plus one vote with 645,978 votes. In 2013, the Jubilee candidate survived a runoff by a razor-thin margin of just 8,000 votes.

While UhuRuto had 6,173,433 votes in the 2013 poll, Mr Odinga had 5,340,546 in an election that had the highest turnout – at 86 per cent – since 1992.

This year, Dr Ruto polled 7, 176, 141, which represented 50.49 per cent of the vote. Mr Odinga, who got 6, 942, 930, or 48.85 per cent, reduced the gap on his competitor compared to 2017 because he gained 84, 992 votes. He has, however, disputed the results.

In 2017, Mr Odinga got 6,762,224 (44.74 per cent), although he successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify President Kenyatta’s re-election. However, the top court explained the result was nullified on grounds of questionable process, and not on the actual results.

In the repeat election, which Mr Odinga boycotted, the President garnered 7.5 million votes, still far better than the 7.1 million Dr Ruto polled, which is as a result of the low turnout this year. The electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said the turnout was 65.4 per cent.

Although Dr Ruto lost a million votes from the 2017 tally, he gained in the right quarters, which explains why he got at least 25 per cent in 39 counties, four more than the regions President Kenyatta secured five years ago.

The DP made inroads in Mr Odinga’s strongholds of Western, Coast and Ukambani, which pushed him over the line despite the effect the low turnout had in his Mt Kenya and Rift Valley strongholds.

In Busia, Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga, Dr Ruto gained 217, 118, nearly the total vote for UhuRuto in 2017. In Western, Dr Ruto garnered 629, 552 votes, close to three times the 242, 000 UhuRuto had in 2017.  He also added 75,401 to the 2017 tally in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni. In Coast, the DP gained nearly 50,000 votes from the 2017 tally, while Mr Odinga lost 151,118.

While Dr Ruto polled 336,478 in the counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita-Taveta, the UhuRuto only managed 287,606 in the same counties in 2017. Mr Odinga, on the other hand, had 801,031 in the six counties in 2017, and 710,149 this year.

In Nairobi, Dr Ruto lost 229,516 votes from their 2017 tally, while Mr Odinga, who narrowly won the city in 2013 and 2017, lost 61,431 votes from his 2017 tally. Of the 2.4 million registered voters in the capital, Dr Ruto got 561,775, while Mr Odinga had 767,395.

In North Eastern, Dr Ruto dropped 150,581 votes from the UhuRuto tally in 2017, while Mr Odinga gained 193,629.

Mr Odinga improved due to support from Mandera Governor Ali Roba’s United Democratic Movement (UDM) – which won six parliamentary seats and two gubernatorial races – and United Party of Independence Alliance (UPIA), associated with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

In Mt Kenya East counties of Meru, Embu and Tharaka-Nithi, though Dr Ruto lost 144,451 votes and Mr Odinga gained 66,444, the absolute figures and the low voter turnout worked in the DP’s favour. Laikipia, Tharaka-Nithi, Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, Meru and Nakuru collectively gave Dr Ruto nearly three million votes. Mr Odinga got 847, 709 votes from Mt Kenya, which partly explains the close contest, considering the ODM leader has performed poorly in the region in past elections.

With 2, 938, 309 votes from the 10 Mt Kenya counties, Dr Ruto topped up with 1.6 million he secured in the seven North Rift counties. Baringo, Bomet, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Kericho, Nandi, West Pokot and Uasin Gishu collectively gave the Kenya Kwanza candidate 1, 602, 807 votes.

Mount Kenya and North Rift contributed 4, 541, 116, or 63 per cent, to Dr Ruto’s national tally, according to an analysis of constituency results on Forms 34B posted on the electoral commission’s public portal.

Considering the voter turnout averaged 65.4 per cent, the performance in these vote-rich counties by Dr Ruto compared to Mr Odinga, who netted a million in the two blocs, kept the DP in good stead.

By Alex Ndegwa & Patrick Lang’at


President-elect Ruto avoided a runoff with Raila by just 69,000 votes

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