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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Unrest feared after Kenya election ordered to be rerun

Supreme court declares last month's result “invalid, null and void” following voting irregularities

Opposition leader Raila Odinga waves to a crowd of supporters as he leaves the Supreme Court in Nairobi
Opposition leader Raila Odinga waves to a crowd of supporters as he leaves the Supreme Court in Nairobi

Kenya was thrown back into turmoil on Friday when the country’s supreme court declared the results of last month’s disputed presidential elections, which returned president Uhura Kenyatta as winner, “invalid, null and void” and ordered the a new poll be conducted within the next 60 days.

The opposition parties, whose candidate Raila Odinga was beaten by 54% to 45%, had challenged the election result, citing “irregularities and illegalities” in the electoral process, especially in how the election results were transmitted from regional polling centres to the central count.

“The presidential election held on August 8 was not conducted in accordance with the constitution,” said Chief Justice David Maraga. He went on to rule that the election commission had “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution”.

The decision was by a majority of the six-man court, with two judges dissenting. Maraga said the alleged electronic hacking of the results had compromised the “integrity of the entire presidential election”. At the time of the August 8 vote, international election observers said that they encountered little interference with the vote.

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However, just days before the election, the body of Christopher Msando, the head of information, communication, and technology at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, was found on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi.

Following the election, more than 20 protesters were shot and killed by Kenyan police, although the opposition claimed that more than 100 had died. Mr Odinga challenged the results and the government agreed to postpone Mr Kenyatta’s inauguration until September 12.

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