Ruto’s win upheld by Supreme Court in Kenya

The Supreme Court of Kenya has upheld the presidential election results in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared William Ruto winner of the August 9 polls.

Ruto’s win upheld by Supreme Court in Kenya
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The Supreme Court of Kenya has upheld the presidential election results in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared William Ruto winner of the August 9 polls.

The outcome of the polls had been challenged by Ruto’s main challenger Raila Odinga and eight other petitions on the ground that the technology deployed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya for the conduct of the 2022 general election did not meet the standards of Integrity to guarantee accurate and verifiable results. 

Odinga also alleged fraud in the vote tallying process and claimed that he had enough evidence to show that he had won the election. However, a panel of seven judges unanimously ruled that they were not persuaded by the allegation that the standards of IEBC's technology failed the test. They added that the pieces of evidence produced by the petitioners were either false or not substantive enough to affect the outcome of the final tally.

"The Supreme Court is not persuaded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, technology did not meet the standards for ensuring the accurate and verifiable outcome of the August 9 poll," Chief Justice Martha Koome said. She added that the allegation that IEBC used a tool to tamper with forms 34a was sufficiently explained when IEBC demonstrated how the KIEMS tools captured and transmitted the image.

“There is no credible evidence was provided to prove that anyone accessed the IEBC system to intercept Form 34As,” she said.

She added that there were no significant differences captured between the Forms 34A uploaded on the public portal and the physical Forms 34A delivered to Bomas that would have affected the overall outcome of the presidential election.

On whether Venezuelan national Jose Carmago accessed the electronic system and interfered with the results which was presented by Julie Soweto, the Chief Justice says “it turned out to be no more than hot air and we were taken on a wild goose chase that yielded nothing of value.”

On whether the IEBC intentionally or negligently failed to ensure some areas vote on the same day which could have ‘suppressed the will of the people to turn up when the elections were postponed, court was also not satisfied with the submission.

The CJ says the incident was a genuine mistake, which could have been avoided and the staff of IEBC been more diligent when they went to verify the registers.  However, the judges say there is no evidence that this suppressed the will of the people in those areas to vote, since voting is an individual decision.

She adds that the failure by people not to vote could have affected all the six categories of candidates involved, not one. On ballot staffing the court found there were no unexplained significant discrepancies in the ballots cast and those declared, adding that there is no evidence of ballot stuffing proven.  

Ms Koome also warned those who swore false affidavits that they committed a crime. “Affidavits filed in court must only deal with facts.

Swearing to falsehoods is a criminal offence” she said, referring to John Githongo and Julie Soweto’s presentations in the supreme court.  

The petitioners alleged that IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati conducted the tallying process and assigned the other commissioners to peripheral roles, and basically kept them away from the exercise. 

The power to verify the results is vested in the IEBC and not the Chairperson, though he is delegated by the commission to announce the results.

But according to the CJ, the four commissioners actively participated in the tallying and announcing of the results at the Bomas IEBC, until minutes before the final announcement when they moved out. 

She also noted the violence that broke out at the tally centre which surprised all Kenyans and the four commissioners went to Serena Hotel to distance themselves from the results.

“Are we to nullify an election based on a last-minute boardroom rupture? To do this would be tantamount to subjecting the sovereign will of the Kenyan people to the quorum antics of IEBC, this we cannot do,” she said.

On whether Ruto garnered the 50.49 votes, Koome said rejected ballots are not part of the ballots to be counted to determine the winner, as was the case in the 2013 Kenya Presidential Election Petition. 

“It is our finding that the declared president-elect attained 50%+1 of all the votes cast in accordance with Article 138 of the constitution.”  

She said the decision to uphold the presidential election result was a unanimous decision and a more detailed judgement would be issued later.  

  • James Orengo, the lead counsel thanked the court for accomplishing the task in the stipulated time.
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