Latest Kenyan News; William Ruto Regin Begins.

Latest Kenyan News; William Ruto Regin Begins.

Kenya election 2022: Supreme Court confirms William Ruto’s victory against Raila Odinga

Kenya’s Supreme Court has ruled that William Ruto was properly elected president, dismissing several petitions seeking to annul the result of the 9 August election.

His rival, Raila Odinga, and others had alleged there had been massive fraud. But in a scathing ruling, the judges said some of the petitioners had falsified evidence.

Mr. Ruto garnered 50.5% of the vote in the closely fought election against 48.8% for Mr. Odinga. The 55-year-old will be sworn in as the country’s fifth president next week.

Following the ruling, Mr. Ruto said he would extend a hand of friendship to his political opponents, and praised the judiciary and the electoral commission for upholding the “will of the people”.

Despite being the current deputy president, Mr. Ruto was not backed by the outgoing President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who instead campaigned for his former rival, Mr. Odinga.

But Mr.Ruto said he would be speaking to both men shortly and promised that his government would look after them in retirement.

“We are not enemies, we are Kenyans. Let us unite to make Kenya a nation of which everyone shall be proud to call home,” he said.

Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta 

In a recorded message, Mr. Kenyatta congratulated the leaders who had been elected in the general elections but didn’t mention Mr. Ruto by name.

The president, who has clashed with the judiciary several times in the past, expressed his misgivings about the Supreme Court ruling but said he would abide by it.

“The process of handing over is in progress… I intend to oversee a smooth transition to the next administration,” Mr. Kenyatta said.

Supreme Court ruling as it happened

Kenyans should hold our institutions to account – president

Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta has made his first comments on the outcome of the election since the vote was held on 9 August, without mentioning the President-elect, William Ruto, specifically by name or congratulating him.

He had backed Raila Odinga against his deputy, Mr. Ruto. But Mr. Ruto narrowly won – a victory that was confirmed by the Supreme Court, which earlier rejected Mr. Odinga’s complaints.

“In keeping to the pledge that I made to uphold the rule of law when I took the oath of office I commit to executing the orders of this court to the letter,” Mr. Kenyatta said.

He also reassured Kenyans that there would be a smooth handover. “The process of handing over is in progress… I intend to oversee a smooth transition to the next administration.

But though the speech was delivered calmly there was some apparent criticism of today’s judicial ruling.

“Because democracy is a work in progress I urge the country to respect the institutions that midwife our new leaders… I also urge citizens to constantly put them under scrutiny because this is the civic duty of every single Kenyan,” Mr. Kenyatta said.

He then went on to question whether the Supreme Court had acted consistently. In 2017, the president himself had his initial victory overturned by the same court.

“People must scrutinize the truth – has there been a consistent pattern?” he asked. “Is it about numbers or is it about the process? Which of these two is it?

“And can our institutions rule one way in one election and another way in another election without scrutiny?

“I do invite you Kenyans to keep vigil and indeed to hold all institutions to account.”

Kenya election 2022: Supreme Court judges deliver boost for democracy

One of Kenya’s most controversial politicians, Deputy President William Ruto will be in a strong position when he assumes the presidency, knowing that he has the seal of approval of the electorate, backed by the highest court of the land.

The Supreme Court upheld his victory in the 9 August election, with a unanimous judgment that left no doubt that he defeated his main rival, Raila Odinga, in a free and fair contest.

The judgment is proof that Kenya’s courts are independent, and will safeguard democracy – just as they did in the last election in 2017 when they took the unprecedented decision to annul President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory following a challenge by Mr. Odinga.

This time, the judges not only threw out Mr. Odinga’s case, but they chastised his legal team, saying the court had been sent on “a wild-goose chase”.

Political analyst Javas Bigambo told the BBC that the legal process had boosted Kenya’s democracy and proved that “in the end, it is the people who decide who their leaders are”.

Mr. Odinga will now be under pressure to congratulate Mr. Ruto on his victory. This would enhance his reputation as Kenya’s “Father of Democracy”, rather than coming across as a bad loser. But his defeat is a political tragedy for him – and his supporters.

Mr. Odinga was at the forefront of the campaign to end one-party rule in the 1990s, but he has never enjoyed the fruits of his struggle to become president, having lost in five elections.

In this, his story echoes that of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s first vice-president, who also failed to rise to the presidency despite the role he played in the campaign against British colonial rule.

Mr. Odinga’s supporters had hoped that the family’s contribution to the nation would finally be recognized with his elevation to the presidency in the 9 August election. The 77-year-old had previously said that this was his last stab at power.

“Fate has confined him in the same quarters that it confined his father. But he has no doubt contributed greatly to the improvement of the electoral process and cemented his significance in Kenya’s politics,” Mr. Bigambo told the BBC.

While Mr. Odinga could argue that previous polls lacked legitimacy, he cannot do so with the 9 August poll, as Chief Justice Koome was emphatic – there was no evidence of the result being rigged in Mr. Ruto’s favor.

She was also searing in her views on the four members of the election commission who disowned the result, pointing out that they had created unnecessary “drama” just before election commission chairman Wafula Chebukati announced the result.

“Are we to nullify the outcome of an election based on a last-minute boardroom rupture whose details remain scanty?” the judges asked, adding that to annul the result would amount to upsetting the sovereign will of the people.

Mr. Bigambo said the judgment indicated that teamwork in the electoral body was important and infighting gave the commission a bad image.

The judgment will certainly be a huge relief for Mr. Chebukati, who can proudly say that he delivered a successful election, and withstood the pressure to not declare Mr. Ruto the winner by 50.5% of the vote to Mr. Odinga’s 48.8%.

In his speech, shortly after the judgment, Mr. Chebukati said it was a “testimony that the commission conducted a free, fair, transparent and credible election that met the democratic aspirations of the people of Kenya”.

Mr. Bigambo said the verdict “gives Mr. Ruto more confidence to preside over the affairs of the country, legitimately and legally elected”.

Mr. Ruto had been magnanimous in his victory speech on 9 August, saying he will strive to unite the nation after an election that had polarised the nation, but he also referred to a “deep state” that had tried to block him from ascending to the presidency.

Mr. Ruto did not identify who or what constitutes the “deep state”, but it will come as no surprise if he carries out a purge of senior officials in the government and the security services who were seen to be loyal to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr. Kenyatta took the extraordinary step of backing Mr. Odinga for the presidency, saying Mr. Ruto could not be trusted with high office. It led to a massive fallout between the two men, raising questions about whether there will be a smooth transfer of power.

“This gives bearing on future presidents to be careful on who they prefer as their successor. Uhuru has been left with a bad taste in his mouth,” Mr. Bigambo said.

But the court’s verdict makes it clear that power has been sapped away from Mr. Kenyatta – and Mr. Ruto is the indisputable president-elect of Kenya.

In his speech after the court’s judgment, Mr. Ruto took an indirect swipe at Mr. Kenyatta but was also conciliatory. “I haven’t talked to him in months… I know he worked hard in his way,” he said, to laugher.

“I take no offense that he decided to choose and support somebody else and therefore we will remain friends,” he said, adding that he would make a call to the president to discuss the transition.

Mr. Ruto achieved a stunning victory in the 9 August election, gaining ground in Mr. Odinga’s political strongholds in western Kenya and winning by a huge margin in Mr. Kenyatta’s political backyard in central Kenya.

His success was down to the fact that he portrayed himself as a “hustler”, fighting the attempt by two political dynasties – the Odingas and Kenyatta – to hang on to power.

His campaign struck a chord with many poor Kenyans, including the youth. He will have to now deliver on his promise to improve their lives – no easy task at a time when Kenya, like many other countries, is facing a cost-of-living crisis, massive unemployment, and ballooning national debt.

The eight petitions challenging the elections were all dismissed. The court found some were based on forged documents and “sensational information”, Chief Justice Martha Koome said in a unanimous decision on behalf of the seven judges.

No credible evidence that the electronic voting transmission system had been tampered with by a supposed “middle man” was presented, she said. Ms. Koome also said that Mr. Ruto had met the constitutional threshold of garnering 50%+1 of the votes cast.

The ruling ends a protracted election dispute that started after polls closed last month, leading to widespread uncertainty across the country, in case of a repeat of previous outbreaks of election violence.

Mr. Odinga’s team had used the dissent of four of the seven electoral commissioners – who disowned the poll results because they had fallen out with the chairman – to bolster his case.

But while noting the “dysfunction” of the commission in managing its internal affairs, the court said it was not convinced that the claims of the chairman running a one-man show was enough to undermine the election.

“Are we to nullify the outcome of an election based on a last-minute boardroom rupture whose details remain scanty?” the judges asked.

The judges also reprimanded lawyers and petitioners who filed falsified documents in court – a rebuke meant to deter spurious petitions in the future.

The ruling prompted celebrations in Mr. Ruto’s home area of the Rift Valley and parts of the Central Province where his running mate hails from.

In Mr. Odinga’s stronghold of Kisumu, there was a subdued atmosphere. Streets were deserted and some businesses were closed for the day.

Kenyans will now be watching the political repercussions of Mr. Ruto’s win for the main players.

Mr. Odinga has now lost five elections. At 77 it’s hard to see how he will run again or even if he will remain active in opposition politics, though his statement lambasting Monday’s ruling says he will continue with the “struggle for transparency, accountability, and democracy”.

As for outgoing President Kenyatta, who worked hard to prevent his deputy from succeeding him, it will be interesting to see if their relationship remains strained.

Most importantly, Kenya has shown that it can resolve election disputes without resorting to the violence we have seen in the past.

Kenya election result: William Ruto defies the odds for victory

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has defied the odds by winning the fiercely contested presidential election in East Africa’s powerhouse.

His victory was narrow, stunning, and highly controversial as four of the seven members of the electoral commission rejected the result amid claims of rigging.

There were chaotic scenes inside the main tallying center. Scuffles broke out around the podium as the head of the commission, Wafula Chebukati, was seemingly about to announce the results.

Mr. Chebukati later returned to declare Mr. Ruto the winner with 50.5% of the vote compared to the 48.8% of his main opponent Raila Odinga and insisted that the election was free and fair.

The official results show that Mr. Ruto gained ground in the strongholds of Mr. Odinga. He also won by a landslide in Mount Kenya – the political heartland of Mr. Odinga’s running-mate Martha Karua and the outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

This helped swing the election in Mr. Ruto’s favor.

He was the underdog or, as he preferred to call himself, the “hustler”, fighting what he saw as an attempt by two of Kenya’s biggest political dynasties – the Odingas and Kenyatta’s – to hang on to power. This narrative struck a chord with many young Kenyans.

The 55-year-old trailed in opinion polls and faced a formidable opponent – Mr. Odinga – who, in an extraordinary development, was backed by his long-time rival, President Kenyatta.

The president will now have to swallow his pride and hand over the reins of power to his deputy – a man he labeled during the campaign as “untrustworthy”.

All this is conditional on the result being genuine – and not rigged as Mr. Odinga’s supporters allege.

Their position has been bolstered by the majority of election commissioners saying they cannot take “ownership” of the result, but Mr. Chebukati was adamant that it reflected the will of Kenyans.

“I stand before you despite intimidation and harassment. I have done my duty according to the laws of the land,” Mr. Chebukati said.

There is no doubt that Mr. Ruto’s narrow margin of victory – and the split within the commission – shows that the nation is divided. How Mr. Ruto constitutes his government will determine whether the country will be reunited.

With ethnicity a major factor in Kenyan politics, Mr. Ruto will have to ensure his government is representative of Kenya’s main ethnic groups – especially the Luo community of Mr. Odinga.

A Luo has never occupied the presidency in Kenya’s history, and the community is bound to feel marginalized and aggrieved following the declaration that Mr. Ruto – who comes from the Kalenjin ethnic group – had won.

Mr. Ruto was magnanimous in his victory speech, saying he would work with “all leaders” and would strive to ensure the nation was “united and prosperous”.

He said he had reached out to Mr. Odinga before the announcement and they agreed that whatever the outcome, they should have a conversation.

Mr. Odinga has not yet spoken, but he stayed away from the official announcement of the result. It is not yet clear whether he will challenge the result in court, as he has done in the past.

He has lost four previous elections. This was seen as his best chance of winning as Mr. Kenyatta campaigned heavily for him, urging voters not to cast their ballots for Mr. Ruto.

Mr. Kenyatta conceded during the campaign that he had broken a pact to back Mr. Ruto in this election. He justified it by comparing his deputy to a co-driver who threw things out of a vehicle while the driver was busy steering it.

As far as Mr. Ruto is concerned, Mr. Kenyatta campaigned for Mr. Odinga because he wanted a “puppet president”.Aged 77, it is unclear whether Mr. Odinga will run for the presidency for the sixth time in the next election in 2027.

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Ruto the  Second Youngest President of Kenya

Mr. Ruto, one of the country’s biggest maize farmers, has won his first stab at the presidency – and will be Kenya’s second-youngest president after President Kenyatta won in 2013 aged 50.

He is a powerful orator – becoming involved in politics two decades ago in the youth wing of the then-ruling party – and drew huge crowds during the campaign.

Ruto has managed to eat into Mr. Odinga’s strongholds in the coastal, western, and northeastern parts of the country. His victory is all the more remarkable as he won by a landslide in Mr. Kenyatta’s backyard of Mount Kenya, the heartland of the Kikuyu people who are the largest voting bloc in Kenya.

Mr. Ruto’s party also took a huge majority of seats in the region in elections for parliament, the Senate, and the governor’s post, ousting Mr. Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.

In the presidential vote, he even trounced Mr. Odinga in the constituencies of both Ms. Karua and Mr. Kenyatta.

Supporters of Mr. Ruto in Mount Kenya who spoke to the BBC before the elections said they felt the need to honor the 2013 pact to pay back his backing for their son Mr. Kenyatta.

It is a humiliating setback for Mr. Kenyatta, who now leaves office with his reputation tarnished among his Kikuyu people.

His cousin, who chairs an association of elders, said they would back Mr. Ruto. The win will be lauded by many young people, who formed the majority of his support base.

Mr. Ruto coined the phrase “Hustler Nation” to refer to the young people struggling to make ends meet, and promised a “bottom-up approach” to the economy, saying it will benefit the poor. He will now have to deliver on his promise.

It will be a difficult task as the official rate of unemployment among those aged between 18 and 34 years is nearly 40%, and the economy is not creating enough jobs to absorb the 800,000 young people joining the workforce every year.

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