Deputy President William Ruto has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election amid dramatic scenes.
He narrowly beat his rival, Raila Odinga, taking 50.5% of the vote, according to the official results.
The announcement was delayed amid scuffles and allegations of vote-rigging by Mr Odinga’s campaign.
Four of the seven members of the electoral commission refused to endorse the result, saying it was “opaque”.
“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of this last phase of the general election,” said Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“We are going to give a comprehensive statement… and again we urge Kenyans to keep calm. There is an open door that people can go to court and the rule of law will prevail,” she said.Mr Odinga’s party agent earlier alleged that there were “irregularities” and “mismanagement” in the election.
This was the first time Mr Ruto, 55, had run for president. He has served as deputy president for 10 years, but fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta, who backed Mr Odinga to succeed him.
The 77-year-old former prime minister was running for president for the fifth time.The electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said he had done his duty despite receiving threats.
“We have walked the journey of ensuring that Kenyans get a free fair and credible election. It has not been an easy journey – right now two of my commissioners and the CEO are injured,” he said.
In his speech, President-elect Ruto thanked the electoral commission for overseeing the election.
“It is a wonderful evening… all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya,” Mr Ruto said, calling Mr Chebukati a “hero”.
Mr Ruto said he wanted to be a president of all, and for the country to focus on the future.
“To those who have done many things against us, I want to tell them there’s nothing to fear. There will be no vengeance. We do not have the luxury to look back,” he added.
Celebrations have broken out in several parts of the country including in Mr Ruto’s strongholds of the Rift Valley, and that of his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, in the Central region.
He says he became increasingly convinced that Russia was about to launch its invasion in November last year. That was when he thought “this is going to happen”, he recalls.
The week before the invasion, he took the highly unusual decision of publishing a map predicting Russia’s likely invasion plans on Twitter. It was a decision he says wasn’t easy, but he was convinced there was a need to get information out into the public domain.
“It’s important to get the truth out before the lies come,” he says.
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He also defends the West’s decision to highlight Russia’s potential to use chemical and biological weapons.
He believes it helped stop them from conducting so-called false flag operations to try and portray the Ukrainians or the West as being the instigators of the conflict.
Rarely has so much classified intelligence been shared with the public. Defence Intelligence has since been publishing daily updates throughout the war.
Intelligence is not a science – predictions are made on a scale of probabilities, and there are a number of things that have surprised UK defence intelligence.
Gen Hockenhull says the strength of Western unity and Ukrainian resistance have surpassed expectations.
So have the failures of Russia’s military, whose command, control and logistics have been “poor”, he suggests. It has also suffered from political interference, from the strategic to the tactical level, he adds.
There has been a lack of trust between Russia’s political and military class – and Gen Hockenhull says he is surprised Moscow has suffered all of these problems at the same time.
What happens next?
We should be wary of thinking in binary terms – that people are winning or losing – or thinking it is a stalemate, says Gen Hockenhull.
Russia, he says, is clearly trying to generate more forces after suffering significant losses.
It is also having to redeploy some of its troops from the Donbas to the south, where he says it is under significant pressure from Ukrainian forces in and around Kherson.
Map showing the south of Ukraine
But Gen Hockenhull still says it is unrealistic to expect a decisive shift in the south in the coming months.
He says he understands Ukraine’s desire to retake territory, but adds that while there will be counter-attacks and counter-offensives, he does not believe there will be decisive action taken this year by either side.
His expectation is for a long conflict.
The nuclear option
This raises another question – what will President Vladimir Putin do if he continues to struggle to meet his military objectives? Could he resort to the use of nuclear weapons?
Gen Hockenhull says this is watched “very, very closely”.
Russian Navy’s TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine is prepared for the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt in the suburbs of St PetersburgImage source, NurPhoto
Moscow is unlikely to use nuclear weapons imminently, Gen Hockenhull says
Russian military doctrine, unlike that of the West, includes the use of tactical, or battlefield, nuclear weapons for military operations.
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While he believes it is unlikely tactical nuclear weapons will be used imminently, he says it is something he will continue to watch.
The likelihood of their being used may change if the battlefield dynamic shifts, he explains.
After four years as chief of Defence Intelligence, Gen Hockenhull is now moving on to head up UK defence’s Strategic Command – which includes overseeing the UK’s activities in space, in cyber and the use of special forces.
He still sees Russia as the greatest threat, but he’s also increasingly concerned about China.
Beijing has been flexing its military muscle over Taiwan in recent weeks.
Gen Hockenhull says it would be inappropriate of him to not consider an “incredible military modernisation with a country determined to resolve a political issue” a problem.
The work of British military intelligence is not going to get any easier.
Supporters of Mr Odinga have staged small protests in the western city of Kisumu and some parts of Nairobi.