Date: Friday, 01 September 2017
Marking a major setback for Kenya's president, the country's Supreme Court has accused the electoral board of committing "irregularities and illegalities" during the election.
Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday annulled the presidential election result, saying the electoral board committed "irregularities and illegalities." The electoral commission pronounced President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the August 8 election with 54.3 percent of the vote.
"A declaration is hereby issued that the presidential election held on August 8 was not conducted in accordance to the constitution and applicable law, rendering the results invalid, null and void," said Judge David Maraga, announcing the verdict of four out of the court's six judges.
The electoral board "failed, neglected or refused to conduct the elections in accordance with the constitution," Maraga added. Two of the court's judges dissented with the verdict, saying the will of the people should not be nullified due to challenges that arose during the electoral process.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's challenger during the presidential election, rejected the initial result in the wake of the vote, prompting violent protests that left at least 16 people dead and dozens more injured. New elections must take place within 60 days, according to the ruling.
Odinga and his National Super Alliance, a coalition of opposition groups, were given access to the electoral commission's electronic server to verify the result of the election.
Supervised by independent technology experts, Odinga claimed to have discovered that the electoral commission's computers were manipulated to hand Kenyatta the victory.
"This is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa," said Odinga after the court's announcement. "We are ready for elections but we don't have confidence" in the electoral commission.
The opposition leader called for the electoral board to be disbanded and its officials prosecuted. The commission later said it will shuffle some staff and ensure any members who violated the law will be brought to justice.
'Very political decision'
Lawyers representing Kenyatta said the annulment of the result was a "very political decision."
The Supreme Court's ruling marked the first time a presidential result had been overturned in Kenya.
Tensions have risen after the general election, prompting fears of election-related violence in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling. Both Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have been dogged before by political violence that erupted after the 2007 polls and left 1,100 people dead.
Following the election, supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga took to the streets to demand Uhuru Kenyatta, dubbed Kenya's president, step down
ls/ng (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)