Petition: 'Defeated Raila trying to force re-run', Ruto to Supreme Court

President-elect William Ruto addressing Kenyans from Bomas of Kenya on August 15, 2022 shortly after being announced winner in presidential election. [File, Standard]

President-elect William Ruto has said in his presidential petition response that he defeated Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya candidate Raila Odinga fair and square in the August 9, 2022 polls.

In the suit, Raila Odinga is the first petitioner while Martha Karua, his running mate, is the second petitioner.

The two listed the IEBC as the first respondent, IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati (second), commissioners Boya Molu (third), Abdi Guliye (fourth), Juliana Cherera (fifth), Justus Nyang'aya (sixth), Francis Wanderi (seventh), Irene Masit (eighth) and William Ruto (ninth).

"I have personal knowledge of the facts relevant to the determination of the issues raised in presidential election petition No. 5 of 2022 by having been a candidate in the election," Ruto said in his response.

Odinga and Karua allege that Chebukati declared presidential results without verifying the results from 27 constituencies.

The petitioners also claim that forms 34A obtained at the polling stations were hijacked and altered before being uploaded to the IEBC portal.

Odinga also said that his votes were reduced in William Ruto's Bomet and Kiambu strongholds. On the other hand, Ruto's votes in the two areas, Odinga said, were increased significantly.

Ruto said the election was free and fair, and that Raila Odinga "is known for repeatedly rejecting poll outcome".

"The petition marks the third time in ten years that the first petitioner has filed a presidential election dispute before this honourable court. Relatedly, the first petitioner has been involved in a series of strikingly similar acts - in the last 30 years - of consistently disputing presidential election results and fomenting national crises after losing," said Ruto.

Ruto further faulted Odinga for allegedly pushing for the overhaul of electoral commissioners if results don't go his way.

"The first petitioner has no grievance against the conduct of the result or of the (August 9, 2022) election, but merely wants to have another bite at the cherry through a judicially-forced re-run," said Ruto.

As a result, the president-elect has asked the court to throw out Odinga's petition, saying Kenyans have accepted the outcome.

"Kenyans have already moved on from the electioneering euphoria, as evidenced by the peace and calmness that followed the declaration of the result of the election and the reopening of most businesses. It would be too disruptive for our ailing economy and callous in the extreme to return the country to the electioneering mode without compelling legal and factual justification."

Ruto said in his response that Odinga was applying a "shock and awe" strategy because he couldn't believe he lost the election.

The president-elect further said that it was ridiculous for Odinga to allege that some people favouring him (Ruto) intercepted 11,000 forms 34A "only to steal less than 3,000 votes".

Ruto said it was unimaginable for Odinga to ask the court to declare him the winner if the forms 34A are tallied afresh and an alternative result discovered.

"This lends to the credence that a presidential election in Kenya can only be free and fair if the first petitioner (Odinga) is declared the winner."

Ruto, consequently, wants Odinga's petition thrown out to pave way for his swearing-in.

The IEBC on August 15 announced Ruto the winner of the presidential election with 7.18 million (50.49 per cent) of the votes against Odinga's 6.94 million (48.85 per cent).