Kenya’s Supreme Court Orders New Election For Obama’s Cousin
September 01, 2017
Kenya’s Supreme Court has nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election win over Barack Obama’s cousin Raila Odinga and has ordered a new poll within 60 days
(VERO BEACH, FL) Citing irregularities, the decision to cancel the result is the first of its kind in Kenya, and sets up a new race for the presidency between Kenyatta, 55, and veteran opposition leader Odinga, 72.
The announcement came after protests and sporadic violence followed last month’s voting, killing at least 28 people.
East Africa’s biggest economy has a history of disputed elections. A row over the 2007 poll, which Odinga challenged after being declared loser, was followed by weeks of ethnic bloodshed in which more than 1,200 people were killed.
Friday’s ruling, which sent shares plummeting on the Nairobi bourse, brought celebrating Odinga supporters onto the streets of his western heartland. In court, a grinning Odinga pumped his fist in the air as his supporters cheered and shook his hand.
“The declaration (of Kenyatta’s win) is invalid, null and void,” said Judge David Maranga, announcing a verdict backed by four of the six judges.
He said the election board “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution.”
Official results had given Kenyatta 54.3 percent of the vote, compared to Odinga’s 44.7 percent, a lead of 1.4 million votes. Kenyatta’s ruling party also swept the legislature.
“This indeed is a very historic day for the people of Kenya,” Odinga said after the decision. “For the first time in history of African democratization a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular elections for the president.”
International observers had said they saw no sign of manipulation of voting and tallying at polling stations.
Civil society groups said the election board was too slow posting results from polling stations. Thousands were missing when official results were declared, so opponents could not check totals. Court experts said some documents lacked official stamps or had figures that did not match official tallies.
A lawyer for Kenyatta, Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said the decision was “very political” and the election board had “done nothing wrong.” But he said the decision had to be respected.
“Let’s go back to the people and the Kenyan people will express themselves again,” he said.
Odinga has contested the last three elections and lost each time. After each one, he has claimed the votes were marred by rigging. In 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed his petition.