Politics & Policy
Kenya’s President Ruto Faces Baptism Of Fire As Opposition Dares to Unravel His Contested Win
Kenya, Jan 28- It’s been four months since Kenya’s supreme court unanimously upheld Dr. William Ruto’s Presidential victory. But Raila Odinga, his closest opponent in the recently completed sweepstakes and a perennial contender for the top seat is seeking to upend the order.
Late this January he brazenly told his political base here in Nairobi that his political party – the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition did not recognize Ruto as President of Africa’s top exporter of cut flowers.
“We as Azimio reject the 2022 election results. We cannot and will not recognize the Kenya Kwanza regime (Ruto’s Party) for we consider the Kenya Kwanza government illegitimate. We don’t recognize William Ruto as the President of Kenya and we do not recognize officials appointed by Ruto into office, including his cabinet secretaries,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President has been faulted for failing to act presidential.
As he has intermittently stoked a farcical thesis that begs the question of whether the electioneering season is still on the cards including the critical concern regarding his suitability of being the inherent healer No: 1 of a balkanized terrain.
An exemplar is his public announcement made mid-this January claiming the existence of a plot orchestrated by powerful individuals drawn from the previous government under Uhuru Kenyatta, who sought to abduct and kill the now-retired Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, in an effort to block his victory during the 2022 Presidential elections.
Never mind, when Ruto occasionally makes these sorts of actionable statements while on the bully pulpit, he has shown himself to be averse to providing evidence, a phenomenon that likens him, almost, to a modern-day Louis XIV whose leadership tenet answered to L’ Etat c’est moi.
Case in point: Ruto said there was a plot approved by what he termed as the ‘highest office’, whose goal was to paralyze the commission and to get friendly commissioners to announce his opponent Odinga as the winner.
“We know that there was a direct attempt to abduct Chebukati and murder him so that the commission would be paralyzed,” famously said Ruto.
He also claimed Chebukati and two other commissioners, Abdi Guliye and Moya Bolu, were offered huge sums of money to alter the Presidential results and branded the three commissioners as heroes for rejecting the offer.
Conspicuously no evidence from the President or his handlers has shown up to date.
It turns out meanwhile Odinga’s latest nonconformist stance, in the big measure is a product of an anonymous whistleblower drawn from the IEBC who reportedly provided evidence to Jeremiah Kioni, a top drawer in the Azimio party of fraud and manipulation happening in the 2022 elections.
According to the whistleblower, the IEBC, under Chebukati and Commissioners Guliye and Molu including the CEO of the electoral body Marjan Hussein, provided fabricated information to the world.
Veritably, if the anonymous whistleblower is to be believed Odinga handily won the elections.
“We’ve seen that 59% of the constituencies cannot be verified with absolute certainty. What can be verified is, Raila Odinga won the elections with 8,170,355 votes representing 57.53% of the votes cast. Ruto got 5,915,973 votes, representing 41.66%,” Kioni said.
The whistleblower claims to be a current employee of IEBC. They say that they have chosen to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. They allege that illegal entities were set up at the IEBC data transmission center’s “back office” to convert Form 34B from its original JPEG format to PDF, in violation of electoral procedures.
Form 34B collates the presidential election results
This startling information emboldens Odinga’s base, which arguably believes Chebukati and Commissioners Guliye and Molu including the CEO of the electoral body Marjan Hussein denied their man victory.
It has not been lost to adherents of Odinga four IEBC commissioners disowned the results of the August 9 presidential polls.
Among other things, the quadruple alleged the average percentages of the results scored by the four presidential candidates exceeded the 100 percent mark casting doubt on the accuracy of the total number of votes tallied.
According to IEBC, Ruto rallied 7,176,141 votes, which accounted for 50.49 percent of the total votes cast while Odinga got 6,942,930 votes or 48 percent of the votes.
While Roots Party candidate Prof. George Wajackoyah and his Agano Party counterpart David Mwaure amassed 61,969 (0.44 percent) and 31,987 (0.23 percent) respectively.
“This summation gives us a total of 100.01 pc. The 0.01 percent translates to approximately 142,000 votes which will make a significant difference in the final results we, therefore, decline to take ownership because the aggregation resulted in a total exceeding the percentage of 100,” said then Vice Chair Juliana Cherera who was forced to resign together with Commissioner Justus Nyang’aya after being suspended from office by President Ruto. Commissioner Francis Wanderi would later resign due to what he referred to as unwarranted public lynching, which he said, was based on falsified information
Kenya’s Electoral Commission’s vice chairperson Juliana Cherera and Commissioner Justus Nyang’aya have resigned, days Their resignations come after a Parliamentary investigation recommended their removal from office, over alleged gross violations of the constitution during the August presidential elections.
The two are among the four IEBC commissioners who had refused to endorse Ruto’s win. The other two, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi, have not indicated if they will also resign.
Commissioner Irene Masit, who is the only one yet to resign, opted to face a tribunal formed to investigate the four dissenting IEBC commissioners dubbed ‘Cherera 4’hoping to fend off allegations of having violated the Constitution and gross misconduct.
Masit is also the only IEBC commissioner yet to leave office after Chebukati, Molu, and Guliye’s terms ended.
According to Odinga, the election process was marred by irregularities and alleged electoral fraud, saying the possibility of death and bloodshed from post-election violence and fear of International Criminal Court (ICC) charges compelled him to accept Ruto’s disputed win.
“What we have today are leaders imposed on the people of Kenya by a very corrupt electoral commission and this is totally unacceptable and that’s why we are saying no,” says Odinga who urges Kenyans to be prepared to stand up and defend their rights “because if you don’t do that, these people will continue to rule you without your consent permanently.”
He has cautioned foreign powers whom he has not named from interfering in Kenyan affairs, saying Kenyans have the capacity to solve their own issues.
“Kenyans will solve their issues themselves and I want to say this without fear of contradiction, Kenyans must come up with the leadership they want. Kenyans must elect leaders they want,” Odinga says.
While the politicking is happening life for the average Kenyan is becoming almost unbearable
With electricity prices are expected to increase beginning this April by up to 78 percent if the energy sector regulator approves new tariffs from Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) – which owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country – that seek to withdraw the monthly subsidy that cushions poor households.
The listed utility firm says it is engaging the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) — the electricity sector regulator — for the first upward review of power prices since 2018, putting further pressure on consumers.
Besides increasing the base tariff, Kenya Power has reduced the threshold for accessing the monthly power subsidy equivalent to a 24.1 percent discount from 100 kilowatt hours to the proposed 30 units.
This will deny millions of households the subsidy they have enjoyed since 2018 as Kenya Power seeks additional resources to upgrade its transmission network and boost profits, which ultimately allow the utility to restart paying dividends.
Also, President Ruto’s administration is targeting borrowing Sh3.6 trillion in his first five-year term, upending his plan to go slow on debt.
The Sh3.6 trillion is equivalent to 89 percent of the record Sh4.1 trillion that his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, borrowed in the five years to June 2022.
At Sh3.6 trillion, the borrowing is more than the Sh2.7 trillion that Mr. Kenyatta chalked up in his first term and Sh1 trillion that the late President Mwai Kibaki borrowed in his last five-year term.
Analysts had expected that the Ruto administration would cut fresh borrowing by a larger margin after committing to ramping up its tax collections over the next five years.
But the rise in spending under the so-called Bottom-Up economic plan, which proposes to channel resources to sectors that can have a mass impact in creating jobs and wealth, has prevented deeper cuts on the country’s borrowing.
Dr. Ruto’s budget will top Sh5.1 trillion in the fiscal year ending June 2027 from Mr. Kenyatta’s last annual expenditure of Sh3.0 trillion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the economies of Angola and Ethiopia are scheduled to grow stronger than Kenya’s.
This projection means that Kenya is set to be replaced as the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa by Angola and Faster GDP growth in Angola and Ethiopia will see Kenya relegated to number five in sub-Saharan Africa’s economic rankings.