The 2022 Kenyan presidential election has been nothing short of intriguing, right from the build-up to the actual election to the announcement of William Ruto, 55, a supposed underdog who trumped the established elite to become the country’s fifth president since its independence in 1963.
“This is a unanimous decision. The petitions are hereby dismissed, as a consequence, we declare the first respondent (Ruto) as president-elect,”
That was the conclusion of the verdict, read out by Chief Justice Martha Koome of Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday, September 5, 2022, thus bringing to a conclusive end more than two weeks of legal tussles instituted by presidential candidate Raila Odinga, 77.
The verdict effectively paved the way for the swearing-in of William Rutto, 55, the country’s incumbent vice president, who, until 2019, enjoyed a harmonious working relationship with his principal, Kenyatta.
Ruto has been deputy to President Uhuru Kenyatta since 2013, but they fell out after the 2017 election shortly after Kenyatta moved to make a pact with his rival, Raila Odinga to the consternation of Ruto who saw Kenyatta’s move as a ploy to sidetrack him towards the 2022 election.
The fallout, which initially was perceived, became full-blown when Ruto was proven right, and Kenyatta moved to support Odinga as Kenya’s next possible president instead of his vice with whom he had an informal gentleman’s agreement that he would succeed him after working together for the past two tenures of four years each.
Kenya’s ruling party, the Jubilee party, had also removed William Ruto as one of its leaders earlier this year but stopped short of removing him as Vice President, ostensibly because the country’s constitution only allowed for that in a situation where the individual is incapacitated or unable to discharge his or her duties.
As is usually the case in such scenarios when a deputy falls out with his principal, Ruto’s security details were withdrawn from his residential apartment last year following a build-up to the electioneering process.
All these, however, did not stop Ruto from coming out victorious in the presidential election, which was held on August 9th, 2022. Contesting against three others—Raila Odinga, George Wajackoyah, and David Mwaure, Ruto beat his closest rival and ex-Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, in a keenly contested election with 7,176,141 votes which amounted to 50.5% of the votes to come out victorious. Raila Odinga, on the other hand, polled 6,942,930, representing 48.8% of the total votes cast. It was the fifth time that Odinga would be standing for election.
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