Kenya’s Supreme Court Upholds Ruto’s Presidential Victory


Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

NAIROBI, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld William Ruto’s presidential victory in a scathing judgment that slammed opposition leader Raila Odinga’s fraud charges.

Shortly after, Odinga tweeted that he would respect the ruling even if he disagreed with it, allaying fears that Kenya would see a repeat of the violence that followed disputed votes in 2007 and 2017.

Several public figures and anti-corruption activists – including some who had backed Odinga – hailed the judgment, saying it bolstered the court’s reputation for independence.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

“This decision is good for the judiciary. This election result is bad for Kenya. Two things can be true at the same time,” tweeted author Nanjala Nyabola, who had not backed either candidate.

There were no immediate signs of protest in Odinga’s stronghold of Kisumu town or in low-income areas of Nairobi that traditionally support the leftist politician.

“There is nothing we can do, judgment has been given,” said Geoffrey Omondi, a 33-year-old electrical engineer who backed Odinga.

Ruto’s jubilant supporters danced and waved flags in his party’s colors of yellow and green.

East Africa’s richest and most influential nation has been on edge since elections on August 9, which pitted Ruto – a former chicken seller – against two of the country’s two most powerful political families. Read more

Similar accusations of cheating have sparked deadly election violence, often ethnically charged, in the two previous polls. Read more

A STRIKING JUDGMENT

Chief Justice Martha Koome, who leads the seven-member Supreme Court, left no doubt as to the court’s position on the main arguments presented by Odinga’s team and other plaintiffs. Read more

She dismissed some affidavits alleging polling station results forms had been tampered with as ‘double hearsay’ – and one as ‘nothing more than hot air… a wild goose chase’ .

“Some of the (computer) logs presented as evidence… either came from logs from the 2017 election or from fake ones,” she said.

Koome raised the possibility of perjury, noting that two people who filed affidavits allegedly on behalf of poll workers had not spoken to the officers.

“Swearing lies is a criminal offence,” she said.

She also called for reforms in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, saying a “rupture in the boardroom” between commissioners had undermined public trust.

Four of the seven election commissioners had disavowed Ruto’s victory minutes before his official announcement, saying the counting process was opaque. But dissenting commissioners had previously participated in the count without raising any concerns, Koome said. Read more

“We uphold the Supreme Court’s decision,” dissenting commissioner Juliana Cherera told Reuters.

PERSONAL POLICY

The story between Odinga, Ruto and incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta underscores the tangled ties between elite families and the primacy of personality over politics.

Ruto was Kenyatta’s vice-president, but the two fell out and Kenyatta supported Odinga in the vote.

In a speech after the judgment, Ruto mocked his predecessor and former ally, saying, “I haven’t spoken to my… friend Uhuru Kenyatta yet.”

Peals of laughter spread through the audience before Ruto dissolved into uncontrollable laughter on the podium.

He later promised to respect both Kenyatta and Odinga, and said he would prevent law enforcement from investigating politically motivated corruption – something he accused Kenyatta’s government of. TO DO.

Ruto said he would not recruit Odinga to serve in his government, saying the country needed a functioning opposition and such alliances created a “craft of government”.

Kenyatta is the son of the country’s first president and Odinga the son of the first vice president.

Ruto, now a wealthy businessman, portrayed himself as an underdog battling the elite – a message resonating with chronically underemployed young people and families squeezed by global inflation and endemic corruption.

Later, in a speech posted on YouTube, Kenyatta said he would oversee a smooth transition to the next administration. Ruto will be sworn in on September 13.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by James Macharia Chege, Humphrey Malalo, Aaron Ross and Ayenat Mersie Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Heavens

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Previous Sri Lanka's Flawed Regulatory Framework Helped Generate Chinese Bad Lending - Analysis - Eurasia Review
Next Churchill Downs Incorporated Completes Acquisition of Chasers Poker Room in Salem, New Hampshire