Museveni hails new president of Kenya
Kenyaâ€™s electoral commission declared opposition leader Mwai Kibaki the countryâ€™s new president on Sunday amid growing tension over delayed official poll results following a historic general election
â€œThe electoral commission declares Mwai Kibaki the President of Kenya,â€ commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu said.
â€œProvisional figures indicate that Mwai Kibaki is ahead of the next presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta by a very wide margin. It is not possible that the margin can be eliminated.
â€œHe has also secured 25 percent in seven out of eight provinces in which the country is divided. He has therefore satisfied the criteria which the president must meet.â€
Meanwhile, Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania late last night congratulated Kibaki upon his victory.
President Daniel arap Moi, in power since 1978, was constitutionally barred from running. His preferred successor Uhuru Kenyatta, candidate of his Kenya Africa National Union (KANU), was dealt a crushing defeat by Kibakiâ€™s opposition alliance.
The commission had acknowledged the unassailable lead by Kibaki and his National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) over Kenyatta, his main rival in presidential, parliamentary and local elections held on Friday.
But it said it could not declare a Kibaki victory until official result certificates were in from the constituencies.
That decision sparked riotous scenes at the commission offices where Kibaki supporters had gathered to hear him declared president. Kivuitu made a hasty exit, pushed and shoved by angry Kibaki supporters.
â€œKenyans are anxious that the ECK publishes its results without delay. They have indeed become impatient,â€ Kivuitu admitted when he made the final declaration.
â€œThe ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) cannot publish the final and accurate score for each candidate. It can only provide provisional figures,â€ he said.
â€œThe ECK will accordingly publish the requisite Kenya gazette notice and issue honourable Mwai Kibaki the statutory declaration,â€ Kivuitu said, amid cheers from Kibaki supporters gathered outside.
Wild celebrations broke out in the streets of the capital Nairobi following the announcement.
Latest tallies from the Institute for Education in Democracy, an independent think tank advising the electoral commission, gave Kibaki victory over Kenyatta by a ratio of well over two to one.
Kibaki had 3,403,621 votes against 1,629,813 for Kenyatta, the institute said, with turnout at 56 percent of the 10.5 million registered voters, down from 67 percent in 1997 polls.
In a statement signed by press secretary Mary Karooro Okurut, Museveni said, â€œOn behalf of the Government of Uganda and on my own behalf, I wish to warmly congratulate you upon your election as president of the Republic of Kenya.
â€œI salute you and through you, the people of Kenya, for maintaining a culture of democracy and constitutionalism in 39 years of Kenyaâ€™s independence,â€ he said.
â€œThis political maturity is no doubt a source of pride and an inspiration to all peace-loving people in East Africa and Africa at large.
â€œI hope and trust that the confidence and the high responsibility the people of Kenya have bestowed on you and your government will usher in a new era in fulfilling the aspirations of the Kenyan people and region as a whole, for peace, stability and unity of the region.
â€œI look forward to closely working with you and your government, to further strengthen the warm and cordial relations between our two countries towards the goal of a united East Africa,â€ it said.
Mkapa said, â€œWe congratulate the government and people of Kenya for a peaceful, free and fair election.â€
He pledged Tanzaniaâ€™s co-operation. Museveni and Mkapa are expected to attend todayâ€™s installation ceremony.