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Kenya Supreme Court upholds Ruto’s presidential win

(Photo: AFP)

NAIROBI — Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld William Ruto’s victory in the August 9 presidential election, capping weeks of uncertainty as weary citizens voiced relief over a peaceful conclusion to the prolonged political process.اضافة اعلان

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

The verdict dealt a blow to challenger Raila Odinga who had alleged fraud and filed a petition against the poll outcome, which saw Deputy President Ruto scrape to victory by a margin of less than two percentage points in a tightly fought race.

Although voting day passed off peacefully, observers feared that the disputed outcome could fuel violence in a country with a history of post-poll unrest.

Ruto struck a conciliatory note, promising to extend “a hand of brotherhood” to his rivals, including Odinga, a veteran opposition leader now backed by the ruling party.

“I extend a hand of brotherhood to all my competitors and to all their supporters. We are not enemies, we are Kenyans,” Ruto, 55, said in a speech following the verdict.

“Our election and judicial institutions have won.”

Ruto will be sworn in on September 13, becoming Kenya’s fifth president since independence from Britain in 1963 and taking the reins of a country beset by inflation, high unemployment and a crippling drought.

As Ruto supporters celebrated, Odinga, 77, said he respected the ruling but disagreed with its substance.

“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 in a statement.

Despite losing the presidential vote, Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition boasts a narrow majority in the lower house of parliament, with Ruto embarking on a charm offensive to secure the support of a dozen independent MPs.

Since 2002, no presidential poll outcome in Kenya has gone uncontested, with Odinga previously claiming to have been cheated of victory in the 2007, 2013 and 2017 polls.

The 2017 poll saw dozens of protesters killed at the hands of police.

Kenya’s worst electoral violence occurred after the 2007 vote, when more than 1,100 people died in politically motivated clashes involving rival tribes.

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