Kenya’s Supreme Court upholds Kenyatta election win

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two petitions to overturn the country’s October 26 presidential election re-run, validating the poll victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The court has unanimously determined that the petitions are not merited. As a consequence, the presidential election of 26 October is hereby upheld as is the election of the third respondent,” said Chief Justice David Maraga, referring to Kenyatta.

The ruling paves the way for Kenyatta to be sworn in on November 28, bringing to a close what has been a divisive and often deadly election process.

Maraga had in September annulled an August 8 election due to “irregularities and illegalities”, in a historic decision hailed across the globe as an opportunity to deepen Kenyan democracy.

READ MORE: Kenya Supreme Court annuls presidential poll in historic decision

However, the ruling, a rare victory for veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, only deepened acrimony and protests that have left 52 dead — mostly at the hands of police — since the first election.


Accusing the IEBC elections commission of failing to make fundamental reforms to improve the vote, Odinga withdrew from the October ballot which he urged his followers to boycott.

In the run-up to the vote, a top election official fled the country, saying the poll would not be credible, and IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati himself said he could not guarantee a free and fair election.

Election day was marred by chaos in opposition strongholds, with polling stations unable to open in 25 constituencies.

The boycott handed Kenyatta a landslide victory of 98 percent, although voter turnout was only 39 percent.

This time, Odinga and his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition did not go to court to challenge the second election, but a former politician and two rights activists did.

They pointed to procedural questions, the toxic democratic environment, and Chebukati’s own questioning of the process.

However the six-judge bench dismissed the petitions in a matter of minutes.

In a statement, Odinga said the ruling “did not come as a surprise”, nor did it alter his opposition to a government he regards as illegitimate.

“It was a decision taken under duress. We do not condemn the court, we sympathise with it,” he said.

Tensions high 

News of the court’s decision sparked celebrations in Kenyatta’s strongholds.

But while many will be breathing a sigh of relief that the four-month election process is drawing to an end, tensions remain high and it was unclear how Odinga’s supporters would react to Kenyatta being sworn in.

Protesters began gathering in his western city of Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold, where they set a vehicle alight, an AFP correspondent said.

Clashes had erupted in Nairobi’s Mathare slum on Sunday after four bodies were found in the street, with outrage spreading to Kibera and protests also taking place in Kisumu.

Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said the cause of the four deaths was not immediately clear but that the victims appeared to have been hit by a blunt object, while one had also been cut.

However, the opposition claimed the four had been shot dead, and angry residents blamed members of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe.

Tensions had also risen on Friday when a mass opposition demonstration to welcome Odinga back from a trip overseas turned violent, with three demonstrators shot dead in Muthurwa, a suburb not far from Mathare.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Fran Blandy
Fran Blandy
AFP's deputy bureau chief for East Africa, based in Nairobi, Previously correspondent in Paris, Dakar and Johannesburg.

Related stories

Malawi court judges win global prize

Members of the small African country’s judiciary took a stand for democracy to international approval

Why we must fight to secure places for more women and young people in politics

Too often, governments talk the talk on gender equality, but fail to walk the walk

‘Insult’ arrest kicks off poll race in Kenya

MPs’ detention may signal the silencing of dissent and a bid to railroad changes to the Constitution

Kenyan cops cash in on Covid-19

The ‘unmasked’ are arrested during early morning patrols, taken to police stations and charged a ‘bond’

Pandemic-induced human rights violations a double tragedy to humanity

The conflation of human rights violations and a pandemic leave the most vulnerable marginalised. Equitable and democratic societies are needed to fight against this

Meet refugee camp’s ‘Corona Guy’

One radio presenter is using the airwaves to bring vital facts about the virus to Dadaab’s 217 000 residents
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

Al-Shabab’s terror in Mozambique

Amid reports of brutal, indiscriminate slaughter, civilians bear the brunt as villages are abandoned and the number of refugees nears half a million

South Africa’s cities opt for clean energy

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions will hinge on the transport sector

How designing ‘green’ buildings can help to combat the climate...

South Africa’s buildings account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. But the City of Johannesburg’s new draft green buildings policy aims to change that
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…