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JUST IN: Kenya’s Supreme Court Upholds William Ruto’s Election 

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld the election of William Ruto as president-elect.

Gatekeepers News reports that in a unanimous decision, Chief Justice Martha Koome who read the judgment dismissed the petition brought by opposition leader Raila Odinga and others.

There were seven petitions with regards to the presidential election which the court consolidated into one petition as they all sought the same thing, Chief Justice Martha Koome said.

The 9 August election saw Mr Ruto emerge winner with 7,176,141 votes, 50.49 per cent of the total votes cast, to defeat his closest rival, ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga with 6,942,930, 48.85 percent of votes cast. Mr Ruto also achieved the minimum 25 percent of votes in 39 counties.The election was highly competitive between the two men leaving the two other contenders almost out of the race.

Wafula Chebukati, Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced the results six days after the election. The results were, however, rejected by Mr Odinga who challenged it in court saying the votes were manipulated in favour of Mr Ruto.

Also, before the results were announced, four of the seven members of the electoral commission refused to authenticate the result.

“We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of this last phase of the general election,”Juliana Cherera, the vice-chairperson of the IEBC, said on the day the results were announced.

The petitioners argued that the technology deployed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not meet the constitutional and statutory standards.

Justice Koome said the judges were not persuaded by the allegation that the technology failed the test of integrity, verifiability, security and transparency citing various reasons including that the IEBC did not have the capacity to develop the technology, hence outsourcing the development was inevitable.

The second issue was interference with the results as uploaded to the electoral commission’s portal. The Chief justice said there was no evidence proving that the results transmission system was accessed or that the results were tampered by anyone hence the petition was dismissed.

Also, petitioners claimed that election forms in the online results portal were changed from the original printed forms. Justice Koome said there was no evidence of such change.

In a criticism of some of the presented affidavits, she advised lawyers against presenting misleading or fabricated evidence.

Another petition claimed that the postponement of some of the elections on 9 August had an impact on Raila Odinga’s votes.The court said the electoral commission had the power to postpone some of the elections in parts of the country which did not affect the votes of Mr Odinga.

They also alleged ballot stuffing but Justice Koome said, “not a single document has been provided by the petitioners to show that ballots were stuffed.”

Petitioners also questioned the powers of the chairperson of the electoral commission to verify, tally and declare results without consulting other commissioners.

The court ruled that the chairperson must tally results in consultation with other commissioners. However, the chairperson is responsible for announcing the results as a representative of the commission.

Justice Koome faulted the commission’s chairman who did not bother to explain the disagreement and that this showed existing malice within a body that was charged with conducting the country’s elections but this was not enough basis to nullify the votes cast.

Another petition questioned if the constitutional 50 percent plus one threshold needed to be declared president was met by Wiliam Ruto.The court ruled that the petitioners did not provide a water-tight case to prove that the constitutional threshold was not met.

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