November 26, 2022

Biden White House congratulates President-elect of Kenya William Ruto, pushes for peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, comments on Angola

Joe Biden William Ruto
Joe Biden William Ruto

The Biden White House on Tuesday congratulated the President-elect of Kenya William Ruto whose election victory was affirmed by the country’s Supreme Court on Monday.

“We congratulate William Ruto on his election as president of Kenya. We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the conclusion of a peaceful electoral process,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during a press briefing.

Jean-Pierre said the United States also commends veteran opposition candidate Raila Odinga for abiding by the Supreme Court ruling. Odinga had initially rejected the election results but lost at the Supreme Court on Monday.

Jean-Pierre asserted that the transparent electoral processes and the peaceful adjudication of disputes are testament to the strength of democratic institutions in Kenya.

“The United States and Kenya share a strong and long standing partnership on a commitment to democracy, security, economic prosperity. We look forward to enhancing this partnership with President Ruto and his new government,” she added.

The Supreme Court of Kenya on Monday ruled that William Ruto was duly elected the country’s President last month.

Kenya’s Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced last month that Ruto won 50.49 percent of the vote against Raila Odinga’s 48.85 percent in the August 9 presidential election.

However, four members of the electoral commission rejected the results, describing them as opaque, and Odinga himself also took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that hackers had accessed the electoral body’s website, deducted his votes and added them to Ruto’s.

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He also made several other claims that he won the election and should be declared the winner.

His political party, the Azimio La Umoja (Aspiration to Unite) coalition, also claimed that it had enough evidence to prove misconduct by the electoral commission.

However, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected those claims and upheld the results announced by IEBC.

The ruling was delivered by Chief Justice Martha Koome, who said that the court found no evidence of tampering of results via hacking.

Koome added that “IEBC carried out the verification, tallying, and declaration of results in accordance with the provided constitutional law.”

William Ruto is 55 years old while Raila Odinga is 77. Ruto will be replacing President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been in power for the past 10 years and was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term in office.

After the ruling was delivered, elated Ruto posted a Bible verse on Twitter celebrating his victory.

“With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – Mark 10:27,” the tweet read.

Odinga said also on Twitter that he “vehemently disagreed” with the ruling.

“We have always stood for the the rule of law and the constitution In this regard, we respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today,” he wrote in a separate statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken reacted to the Supreme Court ruling with a statement congratulating the winner and looking ahead.

“The United States congratulates William Ruto on his election as president of Kenya, as confirmed by the Supreme Court on September 5.  We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the conclusion of a peaceful electoral process,” Blinken said. “We commend Raila Odinga and other candidates for abiding by the Supreme Court ruling.  Transparent electoral processes and the peaceful adjudication of disputes are testaments to the strength of democratic institutions.  The United States and Kenya share a strong and longstanding partnership based on a commitment to democracy, security, and economic prosperity.  We look forward to enhancing this partnership with President Ruto and his new government.”

Election in Angola

On the question on whether President Biden plans to call Ruto or the President of Angola Joan Lourenco who also won his re-election last month, especially after the White House announced that Mr. Biden had scheduled a call with the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Jean-Pierre said she did not have any calls to read out or preview.

Jean-Pierre also commented on the resumption of hostilities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region where the United States Special Envoy Michael Hammer is visiting to help find solution to the lingering conflict.

“I’m not going to get ahead of the special envoy. I know we announced that, as you mentioned last week, I’m not going to get into any conversation that he may potentially have,” she said. “Clearly, this is a priority for this president. And when we will have more to share, we’ll share more.”

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