Kenya Supreme Court Declares William Ruto’s Election Valid
The decision was announced by the chief justice of Kenya’s supreme court, Martha Koome.
Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, was declared the winner of the country’s election after raking in 50.49 percent of the votes to defeat ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, his closest rival, who polled 48.85 percent.
Odinga filed a petition to Kenya’s top court last month.
He alleged fraud in the vote tallying process and claimed he had “enough evidence” to show he had in fact won the August 9 election, which ranks as one of Africa’s most expensive polls.
He also alleged that a team working for Ruto hacked into the commission’s system and replaced genuine pictures of polling station result forms with fake ones.
Also, four out of seven election commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya disowned the result announced by Wafula Chebukati, its chairman, saying the tallying of results had been “opaque” as the chairman unilaterally carried out the vote tally and declaration of the result.
They, therefore, said the election should be nullified.
Although voting day passed off peacefully, the results sparked angry protests in Odinga strongholds and there are fears a drawn-out dispute may deepen an economic malaise and fuel violence in a country with a history of post-poll unrest.
Judges have spent the last two weeks sifting through boxes of evidence to establish if any irregularities were substantial enough to nullify the election, as was the case with the August 2017 presidential poll, which Odinga also challenged.
Reading out the court’s verdict on Monday, Koome said the court is “not persuaded by the allegation that technology deployed by the IEBC failed the standard the test of integrity, verifiability, security, and transparency”.
On the issue that there was interference with the results uploaded to the electoral commission’s portal, the court said, “no credible evidence was presented to prove that anyone accessed the results transmission system to intercept, detain or tamper with the results before they were uploaded to the portal”.
Koome added that the argument that the integrity of the public portal was compromised was disproved.
On whether the chairperson of the electoral commission can verify, tally, and declare results without consulting other commissioners, the court found that the chairperson cannot arrogate to himself the power to verify and tally the results to the exclusion of others.
“But we take cognizance of the fact that the four commissioners actively participated in the verification and tallying exercise from the beginning until just before the declaration of results,” Koome said.
“The four commissioners have not placed before this court any information or document showing that the election was either compromised or that the result would have substantially differed from that declared by the chairperson.
“They have not explained why they took part in a verification process when they knew it was opaque.”
The judge said the court is critical of the governance of the electoral commission which could produce such a split but, however, said this was not enough to nullify the outcome of the poll.
“We declare that the election of the first respondent’s election as president-elect to be valid. We order that each party do bear their own cost,” she said.