Kenya’s Supreme Court rules William Ruto election winner

By The Africa Report, Victor Abuso
Posted on Monday, 5 September 2022 11:38

Kenya's Ruto says expectations are huge, no time to waste in Nairobi
Kenya's President-elect William Ruto addresses a news conference at his official residence in Karen district of Nairobi, Kenya, August 17, 2022. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

Kenya's Supreme Court ruled today on Raila Odinga's petition: William Ruto is the winner of the 2022 presidential elections

Kenya’s political life remained on pause while the Supreme Court considered the petition of Raila Odinga, who claims his opponent William Ruto won through fraud.

On 15 August, after a long delay, the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, announced the results of the vote: 50.49% for Ruto, and 48.85% for Odinga. Four IEBC commissioners, including Chebukati’s deputy, walked out in protest, claiming Chebukati had announced the results unilaterally.

“We have intelligence and reports that their system was penetrated and hacked, and that some of the IEBC officials actually committed electoral offences and some of them ought to have been arrested if they were not arrested,” said Saitabao Ole Kanchory, the chief agent for the Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya Coalition.

A coalition of NGOs also filed a case at the Supreme Court.

However, the seven-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Martha Koome ran through a nine-point checklist that threw out the bulk of the petitions.

Various points – from technology, transmission of results, to comparison of the forms 34A – were dismissed by Koome. Claims around voter suppression were also dismissed as a ‘red herring’.

“The insignificant number of stray ballots found do not prove ground for an outright nullification,” said Koome. “No admissible evidence was presented to prove the allegation that forms 34A were fraudulently altered.”

On whether or not a Venezuelan man had accessed the internal working of the IEBC, Chief Justice Koome said: “It turned out to be no more than hot air and we were taken on a wild goose chase that yielded nothing of value.”

No election in Kenya since 2002 uncontested

Before the Judgment, both Ruto and Odinga, vowed to respect the verdict of the Supreme Court and called for calm among its supporters.

Javas Bigambo a political analyst says, the decision of the Supreme Court goes beyond upholding Ruto’s win, its verdict is also aimed at improving the next election.

“This verdict will improve the next elections, as we have seen in 2013 and 2017, good for democracy,” he says.

A detailed judgment will be made in 21 days according to the Chief Justice.

James Orengo,lead lawyer of Odinga says, though they respect the decision of the court, we disagree with it, blaming them for not carefully considering their evidence.

“We don’t agree with what the court rendered,” he told reporters outside the court in Nairobi.

In  2017, The Supreme Court made history  by annulling the win of the outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory over procedural irregularities and ordered a fresh President election. The case was petitioned by Odinga.

Key  issues Supreme Court considered in petitions challenging Ruto’s victory included:

  • Whether the technology deployed by the Independent Electoral and  Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the conduct of August 9, 2022, met the standards of integrity, verifiability, security, and transparency to guarantee accurate and verifiable results.
  • Whether there was interference in the uploading and transmission of polling station results from the polling stations to the IEBC public portal.
  • Was there a difference between forms 34As uploaded on the IEBC public portal, forms 34As received at the national tallying center, and forms 34As issued to the agents at the polling stations?
  • Unexplained discrepancies between the votes cast for presidential candidates and other elective positions.
  • Whether the President-Elect attained 50 percent plus one vote of the votes cast in accordance with article 138 (4) of the Constitution.
  • Whether there were irregularities and illegalities of such magnitude as to affect the final results of the presidential election.

What happens now ?

According to Article 140 of the constitution, the President elect (Ruto), will be sworn into office, seven days after the Supreme Court renders its judgment on the Presidential petition.

“The President-elect- shall be sworn in on the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid if any petition has been filed under Article 140.”

Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta has already constituted the Assumption of Office Committee to oversee the transition to new administration.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options