Kenya’s presidential election rerun is set to go ahead on Thursday after the country’s supreme court failed to consider a petition to postpone the highly contentious vote. Amid high tension and fears of violence, only two supreme court judges attended a hearing on Wednesday morning – three short of the five judges needed for a quorum. “This matter cannot be heard this morning,” David Maraga, the chief justice, told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. Elections will now proceed, an election board lawyer said afterwards. Thursday’s disputed election was called after the supreme court annulled an election held in August due to procedural irregularities. The August presidential election was won by the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, by a margin of nine percentage points. Opposition leaders have said they do not believe the rerun will be fair and have called on supporters to stay at home, while Kenyatta has repeatedly said voting should go ahead.
The petition, filed by three Kenyan voters, including a human rights activist, argued that officials could not ensure the polls were free, fair and credible. The failure of the supreme court to even hear the case will further polarise sentiments in east Africa’s biggest economy.
Senior members of the Electoral Commission have expressed deep concerns about the forthcoming polls. One went on leave last week and another fled to the US citing threats to her personal security.