Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld William Ruto’s victory in last month’s presidential election, dismissing his rival Raila Odinga’s claims that the vote was marred by rigging and irregularities.
The seven-member court found no discrepancies in the vote tallies and no credible evidence that the electoral commission’s computer systems and transmission network had failed or been breached, Chief Justice Martha Koome said in an abridged ruling handed down in Nairobi, the capital, this Monday. Allegations that some citizens had been prevented from casting their votes or that ballot boxes were tampered with were unproven, she said.
“It is our finding that the declared president-elect attained 50% plus one of the votes cast” in accordance with the constitution, Koome said. “This is a unanimous decision of the court.”
The official results showed Ruto, who has served as deputy president since 2013, winning 50.5% support in the August. 9 vote and Odinga, a former prime minister with 48.8%. The judgment paves the way for Ruto, 55, to be sworn in as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor on September 13.
“We are vindicated by the choice of the people of Kenya,” Ruto said at a briefing in Nairobi. “With a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Kenya, our lengthy, suspenseful and protracted election has come to an end.”
While four of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s seven members distanced themselves from the election outcome, they didn’t explain why they considered it to have been compromised or substantiate their allegations that the verification process was opaque, according to Koome. There is a need for reform at the commission — and details will be provided in the court’s full judgment that will be delivered within 21 days – any dysfunctionality didn’t affect the conduct of last month’s vote, she said.
The court’s decision is a major step toward ending political uncertainty in East Africa’s biggest economy after Odinga’s rejection of the results fanned anxiety among the nation’s bondholders.