By Samuel Ouma
The Supreme Court of Kenya, on Monday, September 5, 2022, ruled that William Ruto was validly elected the fifth President of Kenya.
Delivering the verdict, Chief Justice Martha Koome dismissed allegations by the petitioner Raila Odinga that the presidential election held on August 9 was not free and fair.
Justice Koome said Ruto met the constitutional threshold of 50 per cent +1 of the total valid votes cast and garnered 25 per cent of the votes cast in at least 24 counties.
The apex court ruled that the discrepancies between the presidential votes and those cast in other elective seats were accounted for, with IEBC explaining that prisoners and Kenyans in the diaspora only voted for the head of state.
“IEBC has offered a plausible explanation for the vote differential, citing categories of voters who only voted for the President, such as voters and Kenyans in the diaspora. There were an insignificant no of stray votes, whose combined effects cannot justify the nullification of the election,” said Justice Martha Koome.
The court’s President said there was no evidence on whether there was interference with the uploading and transmission of forms 34A from polling stations.
On whether the postponement of gubernatorial elections resulted in voter suppression to the detriment of the petitioners, she said they were postponed due to ‘genuine’ mistakes.
“From the explanation tendered, we are satisfied that the postponement was occasioned by a genuine mistake which in our view could have been avoided had the IEBC staff been more diligent when they went to inspect the templates in Greece where the printing of ballot papers was undertaken,” said Koome.
Ruto was declared President-elect on August 15 by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
He garnered 7,176,141 votes (50.49 per cent), defeating Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga who had 6,942,930 votes, representing (48.85 per cent).
Roots Party presidential hopeful George Wajackoyah came a distant third with 61,969 votes, followed by Agano’s David Mwaure, who polled 31,987 votes.
Apart from Odinga, eight other petitioners also challenged Ruto’s victory.
The President-elect is set to be sworn-in on or before September 13, 2022.