A challenge to the official results of Kenya’s presidential election has been rejected by the country’s supreme court.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had alleged irregularities in the otherwise peaceful election on 9 August, which was won by deputy president William Ruto.

The court found there was little or no evidence for various claims, including accusations of misconduct, and called some of them “nothing more than hot air.”

Protests briefly broke out in several of Mr Odinga’s strongholds after the election commission chair declared Mr Ruto the winner on 15 August, but Mr Odinga urged his supporters to stay peaceful.

It is not clear whether the court’s decision could lead to further protests.

Had the results gone the other way, it would not have been the first time an election outcome had been challenged successfully.

The court overturned the results of the previous presidential election in 2017, a first in Africa, and ordered a fresh vote after Mr Odinga filed a challenge to that year’s result.

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He then boycotted the fresh election that was ordered, allowing President Uhuru Kenyatta to take power.

At the time, about 100 people were killed in election-related clashes.

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Tear gas fired at Kenya protesters

This time, Mr Odinga was backed by Mr Kenyatta, his former opponent, illustrating how political alliances can shift in East Africa’s most stable democracy.

Mr Ruto had been declared the winner even though four of the seven election commissioners had disowned the result announced by the commission chairman, claiming the count had been opaque.

The supreme court criticised the commission, saying it “needs far-reaching reforms” before questioning whether “are we to nullify an election on the basis of a last-minute boardroom rupture?”

Mr Ruto will become Kenya’s fifth president at a time when the east African nation faces several challenges, including billions of dollars in loans and surging prices of basic commodities such as food and fuel.