Kenya rul­ing brings new un­cer­tainty to fresh elec­tion

The Welland Tribune - - WORLD NEWS -


NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya’s new pres­i­den­tial elec­tion faced fresh un­cer­tainty Wednesday as a judge ruled that a mi­nor op­po­si­tion can­di­date can run, opening the way for all can­di­dates who par­tic­i­pated in the Au­gust vote that was nul­li­fied by the Supreme Court over “ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.”

The rul­ing came a day after op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga with­drew from the Oct. 26 vote, throw­ing East Africa’s largest econ­omy into con­fu­sion. Odinga’s le­gal chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s win in Au­gust led to the new elec­tion. No other op­po­si­tion can­di­date had re­ceived even 1 per cent of the vote.

Also Wednesday, law­mak­ers ap­proved amend­ments to the elec­toral law pushed by the rul­ing party and crit­i­cized by the op­po­si­tion and West­ern diplo­mats as mak­ing elec­tions more dif­fi­cult to an­nul and hav­ing fewer safe­guards against fraud. The amend­ments still re­quire Keny­atta’s ap­proval.

Else­where in Nairobi, po­lice used tear gas to dis­perse thou­sands of op­po­si­tion pro­test­ers who re­grouped out­side the elec­tion com­mis­sion’s of­fices and de­manded re­forms. In the op­po­si­tion strong­hold of Kisumu city, four peo­ple with gun­shot wounds were ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tals after po­lice used live am­mu­ni­tion to dis­perse pro­test­ers, a po­lice of­fi­cial said.

The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not autho­rized to speak with re­porters.

In Wednesday’s court rul­ing, Jus­tice John Ma­tivo said he did not see any rea­son for can­di­date Ekuru Aukot to be barred from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the re­peat elec­tion. Aukot won about 27,000 votes of more than 15 mil­lion cast in the in­val­i­dated poll.

The Supreme Court last month re­jected the Au­gust elec­tion in which Keny­atta was de­clared the win­ner after Odinga chal­lenged the re­sults, say­ing hack­ers in­fil­trated the elec­toral com­mis­sion’s com­puter sys­tem to ma­nip­u­late the vote.

Odinga then sur­prised Kenyans by with­draw­ing from the fresh elec­tion, say­ing the elec­toral com­mis­sion must be changed or the new vote risks hav­ing the same prob­lems.

The elec­tion com­mis­sion has said it was meet­ing with its le­gal team on the way for­ward.

Keny­atta, who called the Supreme Court judges “crooks” after their rul­ing, has said he does not want changes to the com­mis­sion.

His Ju­bilee Party has in­stead has used its par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity to push for the changes to the elec­toral law.


Op­po­si­tion Sup­port­ers demon­strate against the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday. The pro­test­ers are de­mand­ing a change of lead­er­ship at the coun­try’s elec­tion com­mis­sion.

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