Kenyatta and Kenyan judiciary trade accusations as tensions build

Peter Castro
September 5, 2017

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.

On Friday, Kenya's Supreme Court declared Kenyatta's election victory as "invalid, null and void" due to irregularities committed by the election board and ordered a new poll within 60 days.

The Supreme Court was established to rule on decisions of the country's appeal courts regarding the law or interpretation of the constitution and is the only court permitted to decide in disputes concerning the presidential election.

Kenyatta won the August 8 vote by 1.4 million votes.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has lost the last three elections and has alleged vote rigging after each, was among those who welcomed the court judgment. The disputed result of the 2007 election triggered widespread violence that left over 1 100 people dead while in 2013 the Supreme Court threw out Odinga's challenge. The trade unionist had criticised election observers days after the vote for giving it a clean bill of health.

"This is behaviour that does honour to Africa and proves that democracy is now installed on the continent", Conde said.

'For the first time in the history of African democratisation, a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular election of a president. "Let us be people of peace", he said in a speech.

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The August election, which included the presidential poll in addition to races at other levels of government was one of the most expensive ever held in Africa.

Mr Kenyatta, 55, added: "We are ready to go back again to the people with the same agenda that we delivered to the people".

Mr Kenyatta argued that the results of MPs, senators and governors were transmitted and "no one asked any questions".

On Monday, the election board said it would hold new elections on October 17.

On Friday he slammed the judges as "crooks".

"Why is it that four people [Supreme Court judges] wake up and say there were irregularities in the transmission of the results of the presidential results only?" She certainly understands her country much better than I do.

But while the opposition supporters were celebrating, those who voted for President Uhuru were counting their losses, perhaps bothered by the thought of returning to the polls.

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