Kenya’s supreme court has declared Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential election last month invalid and ordered a new vote to be held within 60 days.The decision to nullify the result, a first in Kenya, sets up a new race for the presidency between Kenyatta and the veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga. Analysts said it marked a watershed in the east African nation and set a unique precedent for the continent. Kenyatta accepted the court decision on Friday afternoon, calling for “peace, peace, peace” in a televised address. The six-judge bench ruled 4-2 in favour of a petition filed by Odinga, who claimed the electronic voting results were hacked and manipulated in favour of the incumbent. Kenyatta was declared the election winner with 54% of the vote.
The judges said: “[The election commission] failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution.” They did not place blame on Kenyatta or his party.
Kenyatta said he regretted that “six people have decided they will go against the will of the people” but he would not dispute the judgment. “The court has made its decision. We respect it. We don’t agree with it. And again, I say peace … peace, peace, peace. That is the nature of democracy.”
The judgment prompted scenes of jubilation among opposition supporters across Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. In the narrow streets of Kibera, an overcrowded shantytown that has long been a stronghold of Odinga and his National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition, crowds of people blew whistles, shouted, wept and sang.