Uhuru Kenyatta's silence on poll outcome not like predecessor's quick acceptance

But in a meeting with the clergy, the president assured of a smooth transition, a message he had shared with delegations that included US Senator Chris Coons and observers from the African Union and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

He met the latter before Ruto was announced the winner of the presidential election.

Uhuru backed Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga as his preferred successor. Raila has since rejected the results announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairperson Wafula Chebukati. Four of the seven electoral commissioners have also disputed the reults. Unlike his predecessor Mwai Kibaki, Uhuru made his choice known and openly campaigned for Raila. In many ways, his style bore similarities to that of former President Daniel arap Moi, who openly endorsed a younger Uhuru to succeed him in 2002.

Perhaps the other significant difference between Uhuru and Kibaki is that the president is yet to congratulate his successor. When Uhuru was announced the president-elect nine years ago, Kibaki congratulated him and promised a smooth transition. Days after the announcement, Kibaki invited Uhuru and Ruto to State House, despite the fact that a petition by Raila was pending at the Supreme Court.

"I think he might be feeling a little awkward since he opposed his deputy," Historian Macharia Munene told The Standard.

"Maybe he is waiting for the outcome of the court process. But his silence could imply that he does not agree that his deputy won," said Prof Munene. University don Gitile Naituli agreed.

"I think he has not congratulated his deputy because he believes that he did not win legitimately," Prof Naituli said.

"If the courts say that Ruto won legitimately, then I know the president will congratulate him."

When Uhuru lost the 2002 election, Moi asked him to draft a concession speech.

Traditionally, in the US, a sitting president congratulates their successor. Donald Trump, however, never congratulated his successor Joe Biden, and even skipped his inauguration altogether.

"Uhuru needs to speak as the president and assure Kenyans that all is well. His silence does not look good," Munene said.

Naituli believes Uhuru's silence is due to his disappointment in those charged with "protecting Raila's votes who had let him down".

"He was true to Raila and feels unhappy that his lieutenants did not do their job well. But he is playing how a president plays and is awaiting clarity from the courts."