William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto, will be sworn in as Kenya’s 5th President, after the country’s supreme court rejected challenges to the declared election result of 9th August.
The election had been declared in favour of Ruto, who narrowly beat his opponent, Raila Odinga, 50.4% to 48.8%.
Before the results were officially announced, by the head of the country’s Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEB), Wafula Chebuti, four of the commission’s seven members, went before the media, to disown the process.
At the time, the declared winner, dismissed the four as a “sideshow” and now, in more formal words, the supreme court seems to have agreed.
In a unanimous decision, the seven-member court, decided that William Ruto was legitimately, President-elect of Kenya.
Announcing the decision, the chair of the seven members of the court, Martha Koome, said that “apart from their eleventh-hour denunciation of the verification process, the four commissioners have not showed any evidence that the election was compromised…”
In a short appearance before the media, the now officially declared President elect, answered a couple of questions about what his administration will prioritise in his first hundred days, which he said will included fighting corruption, and went on to call for the country to unite behind his presidency.
“Let us put the campaign behind us and look into the future together. We may have supported different candidates, but the people of Kenya have made their choice” he said, promising a fuller address to the nation, in due course.
Ruto presidency breaks the succession of dynastic candidates, which has characterised Kenyan politics, especially the presidency.
In 2013, and 2017, Ruto was elected deputy President alongside Uhuru Kenyatta, but the two would fall out in 2018, when Kenyatta made peace with his erstwhile opponent, Raila Odinga.
Kenyatta put his considerable weight behind Odinga’s campaign, and for many, Ruto was the underdog in the race.
But the self-styled “hustler” is widely accepted to have run an especially adept campaign, outfoxing his older, more establishment opponent.
In his first speech upon being declared the winner by the Supreme Court, Ruto said that he will have no bone to grind with with his predicessor, adding that in their working together, there was no deal that Uhuru Kenyatta would support him. He also promised that the outgoing President will be accorded the benefits and respect a former head of state deserves and will be treated with dignity.
“We will respect Mr Kenyatta in his retirement. We will give him the honour he deserves. We are not petty,” Ruto said
The East African region will now be keen to gauge what a Ruto presidency will mean, in a region that is beset with a number of pressing issues, including conflicts, in new members, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Sudan.
For Kenyans, one of the questions they will be mulling over, is whether Ruto’s accession to the highest office in London, could mean the end of dynastic politics in their country.