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Kenyatta Concedes Defeat in Kenya Presidential Elections - 2002-12-29

In Kenya, the ruling KANU Party's presidential contender, Uhuru Kenyatta, has conceded defeat to opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki. Mr. Kenyatta congratulated Kenyans on a peaceful transition process.

With almost all of the results in, Mr. Kenyatta accepted that he has lost Kenya's 2002 elections to Mr. Kibaki of the opposition National Rainbow Coalition. "I accept the choice of the people and in particular now concede that Mr. Mwai Kibaki will be the third president of Kenya," he said.

Mr. Kenyatta said he had no regrets about the campaign and that he felt that KANU's electoral team had done their best.

Kenya's economy has ground to a halt during the past decade, and widespread corruption in government has been blamed, at least in part. "Definitely there was a mood of change in the country and perception that was put across by the opposition was that we were not that change that Kenyans were looking for. And I think that perception had a lot to do with it. But we take it up from where we are, and we look positively toward the future," Mr. Kenyatta said.

Mr. Kenyatta said he would take up his position as the leader of the opposition in parliament and play that role to the fullest.

Mr. Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, praised the Kenyan people for conducting the historic 2002 elections in a peaceful manner.

Although a political novice, Mr. Kenyatta was chosen by outgoing President Daniel arap Moi to represent the ruling KANU party in Friday's elections. This controversial choice split the party and was seen as largely contributing to its defeat.

Mr. Kenyatta's critics say that, if elected, he would have been a puppet of President Moi, a charge that both Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Moi deny.

Mr. Kenyatta said he would be happy to stand as KANU's presidential contender in the next elections, in 2007.