Wafula Chekubati also confirmed that only President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga would be on the new ballot. Mr Kenyatta had been declared the winner of last month’s vote. But Mr Odinga complained of widespread irregularities and the Supreme Court declared the first poll void. The decision is the first time in African history that a supreme court has upheld an opposition challenge in a presidential election and ordered a re-run.
In a ruling on Friday, Chief Justice David Maraga said the 8 August election, in which Mr Kenyatta won 54% of the vote, had not been conducted in accordance with the constitution, declaring it “invalid, null and void”. They said that some members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had committed “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results. The court ordered a new poll to be held within 60 days. The opposition demanded that some IEBC officials be removed to ensure that the problems are not repeated in the second ballot. In the shock verdict, the court said it would give further details about the decision within 21 days.
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati said it was “imperative that a detailed judgement… is released in order to allow the commission to identify areas that require improvement”. After the Supreme Court’s decision Mr Odinga called the electoral commission “rotten” and called for its members to resign and face prosecution. He hailed the decision as a “a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa”. It is the third time Mr Odinga has disputed national election results, having also lost against the sitting president in 2007 and 2013. Mr Kenyatta initially called for calm after the decision in a television address, but later referred to the judges as wakora (meaning crooks in Swahili), saying they had “decided to cancel the election”.
The decision to only include Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga on the ballot has been controversial, with at least one of the six other candidates threatening legal action over their exclusion. The poll had raised fears of major violence similar to that following a disputed vote in 2007, when post-election violence left 1,200 people dead. Although the unrest after this year’s vote was not as serious as that in 2007, days of sporadic protests left at least 28 people dead.
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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