Kenya’s Supreme Court is in its last day of hearing arguments on two petitions contesting results of the October 26 presidential election. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner by a landslide after challenger Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the poll, which was a re-run of the August election the court declared invalid. The two petitions were filed by a former lawmaker, Harun Mwau, and two human rights defenders, Njonjo Mue and Khalef Khalifa. The petitioners argued the electoral commission committed illegalities by going ahead with the election in spite of opposition leader Raila Odinga pulling out of the race.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Kenya.
Kenya’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the participation of the main opposition coalition in petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election, in what may be the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote. The ruling, on the first day of the court’s review of the petitions, is a setback for opposition leader Raila Odinga’s NASA coalition, which hopes to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Oct. 26 poll. The court has until Nov. 20 to rule on the petitions, the latest chapter in a protracted political crisis that has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security. If the election result is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Kenya’s Supreme Court prepared on Tuesday to review petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election, in what may be the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote. Security was tight outside the courtroom, which has been center stage for Kenyan politics since it nullified the results of August’s presidential election. That decision led to the re-run election on Oct. 26. The court has not convened since the day before last month’s election, when it had been due to deliberate on a last-minute request to delay the vote. But that hearing was canceled because not enough judges showed up to make a quorum.
A former lawmaker filed a petition at Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election in a last minute move that opens the door to legal scrutiny of the vote. Harun Mwau filed the petition hours before a Monday deadline set by the constitution expired. Earlier in the day, a coalition of civil society groups said they were being targeted by the government in an effort to head off potential legal cases. The Supreme Court has until Nov. 14 to rule on election petitions. If it upholds the result, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga told an audience in Washington Thursday that Kenyans are so upset over the presidential election that they are considering secession. Odinga, whose speech was broadcast on Kenyan television, told his audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that exclusion is the biggest problem in Kenyan politics today. He said unless that problem is addressed, it could tear the country apart. Odinga said all four of Kenya’s presidents since independence in 1963 have been from the Kikuyu or Kalenjin communities, despite the fact that the country is home to 44 recognized ethnic groups. President Uhuru Kenyatta is Kikuyu, and his deputy, who is expected to run in the next election, is Kalenjin. Odinga refused to compete in the recent presidential election, calling it a sham. Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.
Just when many Kenyans thought they had seen the end of the country’s long election season, three petitions to contest the process were filed with the Supreme Court ahead of a Monday night deadline. The petitions target all sides in the presidential election controversy — the electoral commission, opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. Former lawmaker Harun Mwau filed a petition against the electoral commission, known as the IEBC, as well as its chairman and President Kenyatta. Mwau is challenging the validity of the October 26 re-run presidential election, which he argues was held in violation of Supreme Court directions, the Constitution and relevant electoral laws.
Kenya’s key western trading partners and political allies urged talks to resolve a deadlock over the country’s presidential elections, as the nation’s top court began considering petitions challenging the outcome of last month’s vote rerun. The Oct. 26 rerun of an annulled vote two months earlier has polarized the East African nation and exposed “deep tribal and ethnic rifts” that have characterized Kenyan politics in the past, the Atlanta-based Carter Center said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Its appeal for negotiations echoed similar calls by the European Union and the U.S. last week. “Kenya is in dire need of dialogue and reconciliation,” the Carter Center said. “Though both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have made calls for peaceful co-existence, it is also important for the politicians to engage in dialogue to resolve this protracted political standoff.”
Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi is calling out his country’s leaders as “tribal kingpins” that he says are taking the country to the brink of disaster. He and thousands of others have taken to the streets to protest corruption and what they say is an electoral system that exacerbates Kenya’s ethnic divisions. “I went to protest against police violence and got shot with a tear gas canister,” notes Mwangi, with more than a touch of irony. Tensions are especially high in Kenya after last week’s presidential election re-run. President Uhuru Kenyatta has now been declared the winner, with 98 percent of the vote. Challenger Raila Odinga boycotted the balloting, arguing it would not be free and fair. He said that about the original vote, too.
Kenya’s main opposition alliance said it won’t challenge the results that gave President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide victory in last week’s disputed election rerun in court and instead vowed to mobilize its supporters to press for a another vote. “This election must not stand,” opposition leader Raila Odinga told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya.” Musalia Mudavadi, a senior leader of Odinga’s four-party National Super Alliance, said that while private citizens may challenge the election in court, the coalition won’t take legal action against the vote. Kenyatta, 56, secured 98.3 percent of the vote in an Oct. 26 election that the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said was free and fair, but was boycotted by Odinga, who described it as a sham. The electoral agency said the turnout dropped to 38.8 percent from 79 percent in the Aug. 8 contest, which the Supreme Court nullified after the electoral agency failed to disprove opposition claims of rigging.
Kenya’s incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote in a repeated election in which an opposition boycott helped lower turnout to 39 percent, the electoral commission said on Monday. The announcement touched off small protests in a few opposition strongholds but also celebrations in pro-Kenyatta areas. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga said the Oct. 26 election was a farce. Civil society groups also cited problems with the vote. The violence has for the most part seen protesters clash with police but some Kenyans fear it is starting to take on ethnic overtones after two deaths in clashes between rival groups at the weekend. At least 66 people have died in overall election violence. On Monday, the U.S. ambassador said Washington was “profoundly concerned” by the outbreaks of violence since the re-run. Kenya is east Africa’s richest economy and a key security ally of the West against militant Islam. It also a key regional trade, logistics and trade hub.