Kenyan Judges Release Full Judgment, Give Reason for Election Nullification

Violet Powell
September 24, 2017

The rerun of Kenya's presidential elections has been pushed back to October 26, as President Uhuru Kenyatta strongly criticized the court decision to nullify his re-election calling it "a judicial coup".

The court said the electoral commission failed to properly verify the results.

The IEBC was also hauled over the coals for failing to open up its computer servers, after the opposition alleged the system was hacked and rigged.

The hashtag #WakoraNetwork (meaning "criminal network" in Kiswahili) is trending in Kenya amid allegations by the governing Jubilee Party that two Supreme Court judges met with lawyers representing the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, during the hearing of the presidential petition which annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's win.

After Kenya's Supreme Court invalidated last month's election because of mass irregularities, President Uhuru Kenyatta was angry and pained.

But, he said, "these discrepancies were widespread ... the election did not meet the simple test ... we are unable to validate the result".

He said the Cabinet had approved the budget for fresh elections, expected to cost some 10 billion shillings ($96 million). In a press conference on September 19, Chief justice David Maraga said that the demonstrations outside the courthouse "bordered on violence" and were "clearly meant to intimidate the judiciary".

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"Our order of scrutiny was a golden opportunity for IEBC to discredit petitioner's claims but they disobeyed the court order".

The company provided two electronic systems that identified Kenyan voters and transmitted election results from nearly 41,000 polling stations to a central tallying center.

In a statement, the IEBC said it had made a decision to push back the vote as the full court ruling "impacts on the election operations and in particular (the) technology to be deployed".

The justices said they have faced a barrage of threats since issuing their ruling earlier this month, and they appeared eager Wednesday to substantiate that initial ruling, as thousands of Kenyans watched the marathon court session live on television.

This has been set for 17 October, however, on Monday the French IT firm which supplied the electronic voting system said it would struggle to be ready in time. "As you know, our Constitution provides for peaceful demonstrations, picketing, strikes, and so on", he said. While reading the detailed judgment, Maraga said, "When the rule of law ends, tyranny begins".

His statement also accused police chief Joseph Boinnet of not providing adequate security to judiciary staff, suggesting that he "repeatedly ignored calls to act, exposing judicial officers, property and litigants in danger".

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