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KENYA: E&P Uncertainty After Elections

Bottom Line: Kenya’s new president-elect has scratched by with a very narrow victory that is likely to be challenged by his key opponent, but the public has indicated—through non-violence—that it is ready to move forward and focus on the economy. The biggest change for investors may be plans in motion for an unprecedented decentralization of government, which could affect the power-broker playing field for oil and gas license holders.

Analysis: Kenya’s presidential elections unfolded without any significant security incidents as Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly won with just over 50% of the vote against Raila Odinga. There were small protests but nothing on the scale of the last elections. There will be some legal battles ahead, though, with Odinga vowing to challenge the results in court. Also complicating matters is the fact that Kenyatta faces international charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the security crackdown on protesters during the 2007 elections in which more than 1,000 people were killed. He is due to stand trial before the International Criminal Court in early July, and so is his running mate, William Ruto.

There is a potential cause for concern due to the narrow victory. Kenyatta won only 50.07% of the vote, just enough to avoid a run-off. Kenyatta—the country’s richest man and the current deputy prime minister (as well as a former finance minister and the son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta)—will…

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