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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Kenyatta threatens to ‘fix’ judicial system after presidential election rerun ruling

Kenyan president makes veiled threat towards the supreme court after they ordered the August poll verdict annulled

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta threatened the country's supreme court after it ordered an August election rerun
Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta threatened the country's supreme court after it ordered an August election rerun

The political temperature continued to rise in Kenya on Saturday after president Uhura Kenyatta promised to ‘fix’ the judiciary following the decision by the country’s supreme court the previous day to annul the result of last month’s presidential election.

Speaking on live television at the State House in the capital Nairobi, Kenyatta, who won a 54%-45% victory over Raila Odinga, the candidate of the united opposition, said: “We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem," he said, referring to the judiciary.

“Who even elected you? Were you? We have a problem and we must fix it,” he continued, before repeating that he would respect the court's ruling. He said via Twitter on Saturday: “For now let us meet at the ballot.”

The brave move by the supreme court to overturn the result of the August 8 election – which was passed by four judges to two – has little precedent in recent history in Africa, where judiciaries are usually appointed by the ruling regime and toe the line when it comes to decisions such as this.

This is the second time that Uhura has spoken critically about the judiciary. On Friday during an impromptu rally in Nairobi, he accused the court of ignoring the will of the people and dismissed the chief justice's colleagues as “wakora”, or crooks.

As the country prepares for another election within two months, attention is turning to the election board, which was criticised by the court for having “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution”.

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Odinga, the veteran opposition leader whose coalition brought the petition against the election board to the Supreme Court, said officials from the commission should face criminal prosecution.

The chairman of the election board said there would be personnel changes, but it was not clear if that would be enough for the opposition. Sweeping out the whole board would complicate efforts to hold a new poll within two months.

Last month's election -- which included the presidential poll in addition to races at other levels of government -- was one of the most expensive ever held in Africa. Ahead of the vote Kenya's treasury said preparation and execution of polling would cost the equivalent of around $480 million.