The Kenyan Supreme Court nullified on Friday the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta last month, ordering a new vote to be held within 60 days after a stunning decision that found that the election was tainted by irregularities. The Aug. 8 election which was conducted peacefully, was thought to be Kenya’s freest yet and was largely praised by international observers. Yet, because the ruling might provoke violence, the authorities had also bolstered security in light of the contentious nature of the campaign, with tensions still running high and the country’s history of postelection clashes. The court sided with opposition figures, who had complained about election irregularities and raised questions about the fairness and transparency of the vote. A top election official in charge of voting technology was murdered about a week before the election, and although the casting of ballots went smoothly, their collation and electronic transmission were flawed, leading the opposition to assert that as many as seven million votes had been stolen.
Mr. Kenyatta, 55, was re-elected with 54 percent of the vote, easily surpassing the 50 percent threshold needed to to avoid a runoff. His primary challenger, Raila Odinga, 72, who petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the election, received about 44 percent, a difference of about 1.4 million votes. A parallel tally by domestic observers endorsed the official result.
Many Kenyans and observers were anxious about how the country would react to the ruling. Previous elections in 2007 and 2013, which the opposition also asserted were rigged, led to clashes that left hundreds dead. In the days after the election last month, at least 24 people were killed, most of them by security forces.
“My concern is that no matter what the court says, the losers will react violently,” said John Campbell, a senior fellow for Africa policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former ambassador to Nigeria, before the ruling.
Full Article: Kenya Election Result Is Repealed – The New York Times.