Kenya court hears petitions against Kenyatta's re-election

AP News
Posted: Nov 15, 2017 12:57 PM
Kenya court hears petitions against Kenyatta's re-election

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's Supreme Court justices listened to arguments Wednesday from two petitions seeking to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in last month's repeat poll.

The court made history when it nullified Kenyatta's re-election in August, citing irregularities and illegalities, and ordered a new vote. Opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted the repeat election, saying electoral reforms had not been made.

Lawyer Benjamin Musyoki, representing politician and petitioner Harun Mwau, argued that the electoral commission went against the constitution in failing to ensure that fresh nominations for candidates were held before the Oct. 26 repeat election.

Donald Deya, representing human rights activists and petitioners Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa, said the new vote had irregularities and illegalities similar to those that led to the annulment of the original election. The voter register was inflated by more than 20,000 votes, Deya said.

The court ordered access for teams representing Mue and Khalifa to go through the original forms from various constituencies with the results of the election, which Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote.

Lawyer Harun Ndubi, representing Mue and Khalifa, said scrutiny of the documents would prove irregularities and illegalities were committed in vote tabulation.

Odinga and civil rights activists have disputed the electoral commission's official statistics showing a turnout of 38 percent in last month's vote, saying the commission embellished its figures. They say the turnout was about 20 percent.

The nullification of Kenya's August election was the first time a court in Africa had overturned a presidential ballot. At least 70 people have died in political unrest since then, the majority of them opposition demonstrators shot by police during protests.