Court has until Monday to hand down rulings on 9 issues in petitions over disputed polls
Kenyans from all walks of life were glued to their televisions Wednesday as they watched live Supreme Court proceedings challenging William Ruto’s right to call himself president elect.
Voters went to the polls on Aug. 9 and cast their ballots in elections in which Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, was declared president, beating 77-year-old opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome led a seven-judge bench Wednesday to preside over the election results appeals, which must be decided by Monday. If they order the cancellation of the results, a new election must be held within 60 days.
The first submission during the Supreme Court hearings, which came from Senior Counsel James Orengo, said the results of the election should be nullified as no side garnered 50+1% of the vote as stipulated by the constitution for a presidential election win.
“Our grievances are not a conspiracy theory or any ordinary event. If you look at the evidence in totality, we invite your lordships to come to the conclusion that what happened on Aug. 9 marks a pattern of violations against the constitution in order to undermine the sovereign will of the people,” Orengo said.
Ruto’s lawyers were also present in the court to hear the petitions.
Odinga showed confidence in his legal team as the hearings kicked off.
“It’s day one. Our legal team is ready,” he said in a statement to the media.
Odinga’s comments came amid a vote recount of presidential ballots at 15 polling stations that kicked off Wednesday.
Five-time presidential candidate Odinga rejected the “flawed” election results, calling them a “major setback” to democracy in the East African country that could trigger a political crisis. He had filed legal challenges in 2013 and 2017 as well.
Ruto garnered nearly 7.18 million votes, or 50.49% of the total, while Odinga got 48.85% or over 6.94 million votes.
The Supreme Court has until Monday to issue rulings on nine issues in the petitions they have to consider.
The issues revolve around whether the technology deployed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the conduct of the 2022 general elections met the standards of integrity, verifiability, security and transparency to guarantee accurate and verifiable results.
Other issues include whether there was interference while uploading the forms to the electoral commission’s servers.