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Kenya Supreme Court Affirms Ruto's Presidential Win


FILE: Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto (right) reacts after being declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya August 15, 2022.

FURTHER UPDATED TO INCLUDE ODINGA REACTION: Kenya's Supreme Court Ruled on Monday that Presidential Candidate William Ruto indeed won the August 9 election, turning down petitions by challenger Raila Odinga that the tally was not correct and other irregularities.

The Kenya Supreme Court ruled Monday afternoon that it affirmed the declared victory of presidential candidate William Ruto.

Martha Koome, Chief Justice of Kenya, announced "This is a unanimous decision. The petitions are hereby dismissed, as a consequence we declare the first respondent (Ruto) as president-elect."

Challenger Raila Odinga had filed a petition to Kenya's top court last month, claiming he had "enough evidence" to show he had in fact won the election, which ranked as one of Africa's most expensive polls.

Although voting day passed off peacefully, the results sparked angry protests in Odinga strongholds and there are fears that the dispute could fuel violence in a country with a history of post-poll unrest.

Judges spent the last two weeks sifting through boxes of evidence to establish if any irregularities were substantial enough to nullify the election, as was the case with the August 2017 presidential poll, which Odinga also challenged.

Ahead of the Monday court announcement, both sides stated publicly that they would accept the high bench's decision.

Kenya's president-elect William Ruto on Monday pledged to extend "a hand of brotherhood" to his rivals after the Supreme Court upheld his victory in the August 9 presidential poll, following a legal battle with challenger Raila Odinga.

"I extend a hand of brotherhood to all my competitors and to all their supporters. We are not enemies, we are Kenyans," Ruto said in a speech following the court decision.

Kenya Ruto Promises Smooth Administration Transition
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Jubilant supporters of Kenya's president-elect William Ruto took to the streets Monday after his election victory was upheld, with many ordinary people voicing hope the country could now move on.

In Ruto's Rift Valley home village of Sugoi, large crowds of people were dancing in celebration, waving posters declaring "The 5th President" and thanking God for his victory in the close-fought August 9 election.

The atmosphere was more somber in the stronghold of election rival Raila Odinga, who was licking his wounds after his fifth failed bid for the presidency.

Odinga said Monday he respected the Supreme Court ruling, but added that he disagreed "vehemently" with the verdict.

"We have always stood for the rule of law and the constitution. In this regard, we respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today," he said.

Messages calling for peace were plastered on walls and pinned to poles as police patrolled the streets of Kisumu, where violent protests had broken out briefly following the announcement of the results last month.

The last election, in 2017, saw Raila Odinga challenging Uhuru Kenyatta over the outcome. In that balloting, the Supreme Court set the election aside, but when Odinga chose not to engage in the re-run, Kenyatta was declared the victor.

Observers say they hope the declarations of adherence to the court's verdict by both sides will help Kenya avoid the post election violence that has marred its balloting before.

This report contains information sourced from Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.