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Kenya's Supreme Court upholds Kenyatta's re-election

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-20 18:46
Kenya's Supreme Court upholds Kenyatta's re-election

Kenya's Supreme Court judges preside before delivering a ruling on cases that seek to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta last month in Kenya's Supreme Court in Nairobi, Kenya Nov 20, 2017.[Photo/Agencies]


NAIROBI -- Kenya's Supreme Court on Monday upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in the repeat presidential poll last month, paving the way for his swearing in next week.

The court's six judges determined that the two petitions against Kenyatta's re-election lack merit and were therefore dismissed, saying Kenyatta was validly elected.

"Having carefully considered the above issues, the specific players in each petition, as well as the constitution and the applicable laws, the court has unanimously determined that the petitions are not merited and the final orders are that the petition by John Harun Mwau versus the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and two others as consolidated is hereby dismissed," Chief Justice David Maraga ruled.

"As a consequence, the presidential election of Oct. 26 is hereby upheld as is the election of Uhuru Kenyatta," Maraga added.

He said the six judge bench retired after hearing the two petitions with only two days left to the deadline, making it impossible to write a full judgment.

"What we read today is a summary verdict on the issues raised in the petitions," said Maraga.

The repeat presidential vote was held on Oct. 26 under the order of apex court which nullified the Aug. 8 election result over irregularities and illegalities.

The National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga, whose legal challenge led to the nullification of Kenyatta's victory in August polls, announced he withdrew from the presidential race citing lack of reforms at the IEBC and lack of action on the staffers at the electoral body who bungled the Aug. 8 polls. He later said he rejected the results of the October repeat election.

Monday's ruling enables Kenyatta to be sworn in on Nov. 28 as per the Constitution.

Kenyatta won the elections with 7.48 million votes in 266 out of 291 constituencies where the election took place. This represents about 98.27 percent of valid votes.

Some 7.62 million Kenyans out of 19.61 million Kenyans cast their votes during the repeat exercise, representing 38.82 percent turnout.

The petitioners had argued that the repeat poll is a nullity because the IEBC failed to subject candidates to fresh nominations, after the poll was invalidated.

The petitioners, including former assistant minister Harun Mwau and two prominent activists, argued that the Oct. 26 repeat election did not meet the threshold set by the Constitution.

The petitioners had asked the Supreme Court judges to annul the election on grounds that nominations were not done prior to the elections.

However, Kenyatta defended his re-election, arguing that there was no need for the electoral commission to conduct fresh nominations after the nullification of the Aug. 8 presidential election.

Political pundits argue that the recently enacted amendments to the election laws which raised the threshold on the conditions that need to be met before the Supreme Court can find an election invalid, triggering a fresh exercise, might have made it difficult for the judges to annul Kenyatta's victory again.

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