Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld results declaring William Ruto winner of last month’s presidential elections.
Ruto, 55, won with 50.49% of the vote against his rival Raila Odinga’s 48.85%, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced in August.
The announcement of the results then descended into chaos in an otherwise peaceful election process when four members of the electoral commission rejected them, declaring the tallying “opaque.”
Odinga, 77, also later disputed the results in the Supreme Court alleging that hackers had accessed the electoral body’s website, deducted his votes and added them to Ruto’s, among other claims of irregularities.
His party, the Azimio La Umoja (Aspiration to Unite) coalition, claimed it had enough evidence in the petition to prove misconduct by the electoral commission after the August 9 election.
However, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected his claims and decided the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) held a credible election last month.
“We’re satisfied that the IEBC carried out the verification, tallying and declaration of results in accordance with the constitution,” the ruling says in part.
Chief Justice Martha Koome said the court found no evidence of tampering of results via hacking and that the “IEBC carried out the verification, tallying, and declaration of results in accordance with the provided constitutional law.”
The court also dismissed claims of ballot stuffing, voter suppression and Koome said the court had been sent “on a wild goose chase” investigating some of the laundry list of grievances presented by Odinga and his legal team.
Reacting to the decision, Kenya’s new President-elect Williams Ruto – a devout Christian – posted a Bible verse on Twitter, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” — Mark 10:27.”
He later said that he welcomed the confirmation of his win “with tremendous humility,” at a press conference outside his residence on Monday.
Odinga said his team “respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today,” in a statement he posted to his Twitter shortly after the court announced the verdict.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken Monday issued a statement congratulating Ruto on his win.
“We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the conclusion of a peaceful electoral process. We commend Raila Odinga and other candidates for abiding by the Supreme Court ruling. Transparent electoral processes and the peaceful adjudication of disputes are testaments to the strength of democratic institutions,” the statement said.
It was Odinga’s fifth time running and his third time challenging his loss in presidential elections through the Supreme Court, having filed a case after the last two elections in 2013 and 2017.
In 2017, the Supreme Court made history when it ordered a re-election, which was boycotted by Odinga who again lost to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta
Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)– who was at the heart of the allegations of misconduct that Odinga’s legal team put forth– said the IEBC was “finally vindicated,” in a statement on Monday as well.
But the Supreme court said the commission needed “far-reaching reforms” due to major dysfunction and governance failures.
Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta said he would “oversee a smooth transition to the next administration,” in a televised address Monday night.
Security was tight ahead of the court ruling and Kenya’s security forces were on high alert in areas of the country where violence could break out.