After a week of jubilation and celebrations by the Kenya Kwanza brigades, their win is now being challenged by the runner up of the 2022 elections. This is non other than the Right Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga and his Azimio Party team.
But the challengers have to officially file their dispute at the Supreme Court of Kenya by 14:00 local time on Tuesday, August 23. This is because Chief Justice Martha Koome had early last week indicated that this will be the deadline to file any petition disputing the just concluded 2022 elections.
The 2022 elections results have been controversial in the sense that not only did the defeated opponent of William Ruto disputing the election results, at least four commissioners of the IEBC, including the vice-chairperson, is disputing the results.
These commissioners together with the Azimio contestants have alleged widespread fraud plaguing the election exercise, specifically, a lack of transparency in the manner in which counting of the votes was conducted.
The four IEBC commissioners, Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyangaya issued a statement disowning the 2022 elections results. The contents of their statement issued at the Serena Hotel Nairobi included the following:
“We have done the 2022 general election in the most efficient manner. We have ensured that all the challenges have been contained,” commissioner Juliana Cherera said during a hastily arranged press briefing at Serena Hotel.
“We have made sure that we have improved the standards and we say as a fact, as commissioners we have a done a good job.
“But some things need to be put out there as you can see the four of us are here and not at Bomas where the results are going to be announced because of the opaque nature of how this phase has been handled,” Cherera said.
“We therefore cannot take ownership of this result that is going to be announced,” she added.
With this last statement, the IEBC vice-chairperson was mercilessly mocked online and on social media platforms most likely by the Kenya Kwanza supporters who were in celebration mode after William Ruto was declared the president-elect.
Possible Outcomes of The Election Results Challenge
Assuming that Raila Odinga and the Azimio party’s threat to challenge the 2022 elections results hold true, the Kenya Supreme Court will be able to do the following:
1. Order a Recount of the Vote– One of the grievances Raila Odinga has is that the counting was not done properly. The former prime minister specifically said that the IEBC Chairperson, Mr. Chebukati conducted the counting of the vote in closed doors. The Azimio team allege that this led to a mismatch between the number of votes cast and the one that was actually counted. The Azimio presidential campaign chairman Ndiritu Muriithi alleges that IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati bungled the presidential elections results both at the County-level and at other county seats to suggest that there were widespread electoral malpractice including the stuffing of ballots.
Because this issue only deals with the process of counting, the supreme court is more likely to order the recounting of the vote in a more transparent manner to stem accusations of election stuffing. The disgruntled IEBC commissioners will be asked by the court to verify the results as this is their duty to do so.
2. Annul the Presidential Elections-This is nothing new. The Supreme Court annulled the 2017 elections after Raila Odinga himself challenged the manner in which the elections were conducted. This led to a re-run in which President Uhuru emerged the winner, anyways, since Raila went on to boycott the election re-run all together. But for the Supreme Court to strike down the presidential results and order a do-over, there has to be substantial irregularities. But what may lead to the annulment of the 2022 elections results? Raila and his Azimio brigades allege that the Chebukati-led IEBC broke the law. They say the 2022 elections results verification process did not occur as prescribed by the law. Specifically, that IEBC changed the order in which forms 34A and 34B forms were verified. They say that only Chebukati and the IT team did the verification process. This has led to the four IEBC commissioners disowning the results as they were left in the dark when the counting and verifications were performed. The commissioners have termed this as far from being transparent (opaque).
If the Supreme Court annuls the 2022 elections results, a new election will be called and be conducted within 60 days of the Court’s decision. Both Raila and the alleged victor, William Ruto will hit the campaign trail once again. There is also a possibility of new entrants into the contest since the original 2022 election would have been declared null and void.
3. Uphold the Results of the Elections-This will mean Hon. William Ruto will be officially sworn in as the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya and the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces. Upholding the results will be music to Ruto die-hards in Rift-Valley and the densely populated Mount Kenya Region. This outcome is more likely in the sense that the Azimio challengers come short in convincing the apex court that rules were not followed either during the voting exercise, the counting process or both.
Should the Supreme Court uphold the 2022 Election Results, Mr. Ruto will be sworn in as president within 7 calendar days of the court’s decision. This will be a disaster for Raila and the Azimio team but will be music in the Kenya Kwanza ears.
This is because currently, the Kenya Kwanza team is nervous. Kenya Kwanza’s anxiety is premised on the lethargic public reception of IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati’s hurried announcement of William Ruto as the winner. Where endless and vibrant celebration was expected, there were only brief joyful noises, followed by uneasy silence.
Generally speaking, the current mood of the nation is that of depression. Very few Kenyans are celebrating the alleged Ruto win due to the lack of transparency by the Chebukati-led IEBC. More importantly, there is a disagreement even from within the IEBC commissioners themselves. It is like if a team of surgeons conducted surgery on a patient, but after the medical practise, half of the the medical team disown and criticize the way the procedure was conducted.