Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Kenya's Supreme Court rules presidential election invalid, new polls to be held

Andrew Cummings | 04 September, 2017, 14:07

The political temperature continued to rise in Kenya on Saturday after president Uhura Kenyatta promised to "fix" the judiciary following the decision by the country's supreme court the previous day to annul the result of last month's presidential election.

"For the first time in history of African democratisation a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular elections for the president".

The Jubilee Party has attacked the Supreme Court since it declared the presidential election null and void due to illegalities committed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the August 8 polls.

Chief Justice and President of Supreme Court David Maraga said the election where the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the victor had gross irregularities which affected the integrity of elections.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, waves to supporters as he leaves the St. Stephen's cathedral after attending a church service in Nairobi, Kenya September 3, 2017.

However, violence broke out as opposition activists cried foul in days of unrest which claimed the lives of at least 28 people.

Odinga said outside the Supreme Court that this marks a historic moment for Kenyans. We clearly have a problem.

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However, President Uhuru Kenyatta has lashed out at the judges, saying that "six people have decided they will go against the will of the people". Ahead of the vote Kenya's treasury said preparation and execution of polling would cost the equivalent of around $480 million. Many Kenyan observers have already expressed some concern about how people will react to this ruling because of the violence that the country has experienced in the past over disputed elections.

Odinga has contested the last three presidential polls and lost all of them.

Odinga has demanded the commission be replaced, while IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said there would be some "internal changes" but refused to resign. Odinga's team focused on proving that the process for tallying and transmitting results was flawed - rather than proving how much of the vote was rigged.

Odinga's success is the first of its kind in Kenya.

Ms Schaake said the monitors were awaiting the full details of the ruling.

"If the opposition demands that electoral commission is disbanded, and the government rejects that, there could be a possibility of confrontation", said Murithi Mutiga, a Kenya analyst at the International Crisis Group.

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