News / Africa

Kenyatta Follows Father to Win Kenya's Top Job

Gabe Joselow

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has been elected president of Kenya, to serve the same office his father held 40 years ago. His will assume the presidency as he faces charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, complicating the country’s relationship with the west.

After days of vote counting, Kenya’s electoral commission announced Uhuru Kenyatta has been elected the country’s fourth president.

Kenyatta came out on top with a razor thin margin of victory.

He beat out his nearest rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, with 50.07 percent of the vote -  just enough to avoid a run-off.

Kenyatta was born into a life of politics, as the son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta. He was educated in the Untied States, and has served as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government since 2008.

  • Supporters of Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta celebrate what they perceive is an election win for him in Nairobi, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • Kenyan president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta waves at supporters after winning the elections in Nairobi, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta celebrate what they perceive is an election win for him in Nairobi, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta displays the certificate from Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declaring him the winner of the country's presidential election in Nairobi, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • Riot police walk past residents in Nyallenda slums in Kenya's western town of Kisumu, 350km (218 miles) from the capital Nairobi as tension arises after Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of presidential election, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • Demonstrators chant slogans in Kenya's western town of Kisumu, 350km (218 miles) from the capital Nairobi as tension arises after Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of presidential election, Mar. 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga look out from the balconies of a building in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Mar. 9, 2013.
   

One of the country’s richest men, Kenyatta has pledged to ensure the country’s rapid economic growth benefits all citizens. “We want to know that our success will not be based on whether our economy has grown by 12 or 13 percent, but by the way we have reduced poverty and increased wealth among every single Kenyan in this republic," he said.

Kenyatta’s political career has been largely overshadowed by his trial at the International Criminal Court.

Uhuru Kenyatta

  • Deputy prime minister, former finance minister
  • 51 years old, son of Kenya's first president
  • Faces crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague relating to post-election violence in 2007
  • Nominated to parliament in 2001
  • Appointed to run the Kenya Tourism Board in 1999
He and his running mate, William Ruto, are both facing charges at The Hague for their alleged roles organizing the post-election violence that followed the last disputed election in 2007.

Western nations have suggested the charges against the new president could complicate relations with Kenya.

The charges have actually helped to unite Kenyatta’s supporters against the same western powers, who they accuse of meddling in Kenyan affairs.

But there is a contradiction in Kenyatta’s anti-imperialist message according to independent analyst Abdulahi Boru. “Uhuru Kenyatta can easily come to press conference, or when he’s energizing his base say oh well it’s all foreign intervention, when all his lawyers are British, when his PR firm is run from London," he said.

The inauguration of the president-elect is set to take place in about two weeks, but the constitution allows time for legal challenges.

Odinga’s party has raised concerns about the election process, which was marred by technical problems and delays.

The party has indicated it will take its disputes to court.

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