Kenyan court annuls election result, setting African precedent

Kenyan court annuls election result, setting African precedent

Kerry Wise
September 2, 2017

Kenyans have rushed to social media to express their views on a Supreme Court decision nullifying the result of the August 8 presidential election that declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the victor.

The court ruled that the presidential elections were not conducted in accordance with the constitution rendering the result "invalid, null and void".

With this annulment, Kenya becomes the first country in Africa to annul a presidential election.

Importantly, supporters of Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party need to accept the court's results, just as Kenyatta has done.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati noted the ruling and said there would be "changes to personnel" ahead of the new election.

The current crop of IEBC commissioners took office only seven months before the election, after their predecessors were forced to step down following widespread protests against them.

Opposition leader Odinga was jubilant as he welcomed what he called a "precedent-setting ruling" by the court. The decision was backed by four out of six Supreme Court judges.

A self-described leftist educated as an engineer in communist East Germany, the young Odinga cultivated a firebrand image, naming his first son Fidel Castro and adopting the nickname "Agwambo", or "controversial one" in his native Luo tongue.

Molo MP Kuria Kimani said the decision is "victory delayed" since the same people who voted for President Kenyatta will vote for him again. The run up to the vote was marked by court challenges over voting procedures and fears over the effectiveness and credibility of the IEBC, whose management was only appointed in January.

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For his part, the anonymous African diplomat said Kenya could see a rush of other dissatisfied candidates who lost out in governor, senator or MP races turn to the court with election grievances following the ruling.

"Even if the process runs smoothly, investors will fear a re-run of 2007-08 violence until a victor is confirmed and the losing side concedes". Kenyatta won, receiving about 1 million more votes than his opponent.

According to reports, the rule was reached after it was established that there were irregularities committed by the election board and an order to organise a new election in 60 days has also been issued to that effect.

ODM National Treasurer Mr Timothy Bosire said opposition has been denied victory for too long and it is clear that Jubilee rigged the elections.

Mr. Kerry, heading the Carter Center's observer mission, said, "Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy".

Kenyan shares tumbled and the currency dropped after the court ruling, reflecting perceptions that prolonged elections will mean continued uncertainty, said Razia Khan, chief Africa economist at Standard Chartered Plc in London.

Kenya's dollar bonds fell after the ruling.

Kenya's electoral commission has said there was a hacking attempt but it failed.