“It’s a unanimous decision. The appeals are hereby dismissed. Accordingly, we declare the first respondent (William Ruto) president-elect,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Koome said. Under the Constitution, William Ruto must be sworn in on September 13. He will become at 55 the fifth president of Kenya since the independence of the pays in 1963.
Both sides have promised in recent days to respect the decision of the highest court, known for its independence. On August 15, outgoing Vice President William Ruto was declared the winner of one of the tightest polls in Kenya’s history, with around 233,000 votes ahead (50.49% against 48.85%) over Raila Odinga, 77 years old.
For Raila Odinga, this decision confirms his fifth defeat in as many candidacies for the presidency. Odinga, a historic opposition figure supported this year by outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his powerful party, challenged the results of the last three presidential elections.
Announcement of chaotic results
In 2017, he obtained the annulment of the election by the Supreme Court, a first in Africa. He had makes this new legal battle “a fight for democracy and good governance” against “corruption cartels”.
The vote took place peacefully on 9 August. But the proclamation of the results had been chaotic, four of the seven members of the electoral commission (IEBC) had disassociated themselves from the results, accusing their leader Wafula Chebukati of having engaged in an “opaque” process. The proclamation of Ruto’s election then sparked scuffles in strongholds of Odinga supporters. Election periods in Kenya have repeatedly been sources of violence. The most deadly, in 2007, left more than 1,100 dead and hundreds of thousands of moved.