Kenya's supreme court upholds election result

Thursday, September 8, 2022

William Ruto at a WTO public forum in 2014.
Image: World Trade Organization.

Kenya's supreme court on Monday upheld the August 9 election result won by William Ruto, ruling against his rival Raila Odinga and others who had alleged large-scale fraud had occurred during the vote.

The result had been announced on August 15, with Ruto winning 50.5% of the vote against 48.8% for Odinga.

Odinga's team had used the dissension of four of the seven electoral commissioners to strengthen his case. The dissenting commissioners had disowned the result after falling out with the commission's chairman, and called the process "opaque".

The court ruled there was no credible evidence for fraud, interference, or a failure of the technology used, despite internal "dysfunction" within the electoral commission. The court also found there were valid reasons for delaying the concurrent gubernatorial votes in some areas, and there was no reason to conclude this affected turnout.

In an attempt to ward off specious legal petitions going forward, the court reprimanded lawyers and petitioners for filing falsified documents. Chief Justice Martha Koome said some petitions were forged and contained "sensational information". In the ruling, Koome said, "We declare the election of the president-elect to be valid".

Ruto is due to be sworn in as the country's fifth president, replacing Uhuru Kenyatta. Despite Ruto having been Kenyatta's deputy, the president had supported his long-time opponent Odinga in the election. This election marked Odinga's fifth attempt at the presidency.