Independent candidate Japheth Kaluyu has become the first candidate to concede defeat in the 2017 Kenya presidential election.
Kaluyu told reporters at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s National Tallying Centre that he had reached the decision after coming to the realisation that he stood no chance of winning the State House race given the clear lead by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
By mid Wednesday afternoon, President Kenyatta had garnered 7.9 million votes against Raila Odinga’s 6.5m votes, while Kaluyu came a distant sixth with 11,250 votes in provisional results.
“For us to come from 11,000 to 7 million votes it is going to be a long night. Given the way the figures look, we’re going to concede and so far it looks like President Uhuru Kenyatta is going to carry the day,” Kaluyu said on Wednesday accompanied by his running mate Eliud Kariara.
Describing his decision to quit the race to love for the republic, Kaluyu however told reporters that his bid had attracted significant traction given the fact that it was his first time to stand for the presidency.
He said he was willing to work with the candidate who wins the race to State House for the common good of Kenyans.
“I want to thank President Kenyatta for a great race because we did not see a lot of insults or disrespect for those of us who are first timers. We’ve been accommodated all along,” he said.
From his interactions with Kenyans on the campaign trail, Kaluyu said he had inspired many to aspire for greatness and more importantly the next administration to ponder on issues he raised during his campaigns.
According to Kaluyu, the nation needs to move forward from this election, saying citizens will have yet another opportunity to elect leaders of their choice in 2022.
“There was peace, processes worked and we believe the electoral commission will do all things right,” he said with regards to the credibility of the General Election held on Tuesday.
“I will support the winner. It is a hard thing to swallow but maturity demands that we’re able to move on. Hitches happen the world over but that doesn’t mean a whole process is compromised,” he stated.
Earlier in the day, Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot told the press that there was no cause for alarm, urging other presidential candidates to desist from issuing alarmist remarks.
“Until IEBC declares official results, we cannot, therefore, claim anybody has won or lost and therefore there’s actually no cause for celebration or feeling cheated. IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba himself has confirmed that what is being broadcast is actually not official results yet,” he told a battery of reporters at the Bomas of Kenya, the nerve center of the 2017 presidential election