Supreme Court upholds Ruto’s election as president

Economy

Supreme Court upholds Ruto’s election as president


ruto

President-Elect William Ruto. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

The Supreme Court has upheld the declaration of William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua as president-elect and deputy president-elect as announced by the electoral body on August 15.

In a unanimous decision, the seven judges of the apex court dismissed the seven presidential election petitions including one filed by Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua saying Dr Ruto was validly elected.

“The presidential election petitions… as consolidated are hereby dismissed as a consequence we declare that president-elect to be valid,” Chief Justice Matha Koome said.

The top court dismissed all the nine issues the judges were called upon to consider arising from the election petitions saying there was no evidence tabled by the petitioners to upset the results of the August 9 polls.

“Are we to nullify an election on the basis of a last minute rapture the details of which remain scanty? In the absence of any evidence of violation of the constitution and electoral laws, can we overturn the election? This we cannot do. The current dysfunctionality at the commission, did not affect the conduct of the 2022 election,” the judges said.

The Judges however faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati saying he did not make matters better by maintaining “a studious silence even when it was clear that things were falling apart,” at the commission.

The judges confirmed that the technology deployed by the electoral body met the standards of verifiability, transparency and guaranteed credible election.

The judges added that there was no credible evidence presented by the petitioners that the Forms 34A were intercepted, before being uploaded to the public portal as alleged. They said the electoral body explained how the images were captured and how the system could not be infiltrated by unauthrised persons.

The Supreme Court said a scrutiny of ballot boxes from 15 polling stations confirmed that there were no interference and the Forms 34As presented the National Tallying Center at the Bomas of Kenya, those given to agents and the ones at the public portal, tallied.

The judges said the power to tally and verify the Forms 34A presented at the national tallying centre is not vested in the chairperson of IEBC but the entire commission.

“We also find that the Chairperson cannot arrogate the power to tally and verify the results to the elections act to the exclusion of other commissioners. That said, we however take cognizance that the four commissioners actively participated in the tallying and verification exercise from the beginning until just before declaration of the final results by the chairperson,” Justice Koome said.

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