Kenya: Uhuru and Raila to face-off in fresh elections

The supreme court of Kenya has ruled against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and called for fresh elections within sixty days.

The ruling which was made at 11:46 am [East African Time] ago says the presidential election was marred with irregularities and illegalities as displayed by the electoral commission.

A petition filed by Raila Odinga challenged the pronouncement of Uhuru as President by criticizing the manner in which the electoral commission conducted the polls.

The petitioner, Raila Odinga, said the electoral commission failed to validate ballot papers, and ignored the use of electoral forms and verification of forms submitted by returning officers at each polling station.

The electoral commission was the first respondent, while Uhuru Kenyatta, second respondent.

The opposition, National Super Alliance, NASA, party claimed that the computer system of the electoral commission was hacked giving more determined-votes to President Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga argued that the poll was marred by massive irregularities and that the electoral commission breached constitutional and legal provisions during the polls.

Through his lawyers, Mr. Odinga insisted that the presidential results were made on the basis on Forms 34Bs, which were full of errors, and aggregated from Forms 34As which he said were only available five days after Presidential results had been announced.

The Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission however said that they complied with all the provisions of law and the results were a true reflection of the will of Kenyan voters.

Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyers insisted that their client was elected in a free and fair manner.

Six judges ruled on the case, while one judge abstained on health condition.

The ruling was passed by majority after two judges dissented, saying they were satisfied with the overall conduct of the elections by the electoral commission.

However, four judges, including the Chief Justice, David Maraga says they found compelling evidences to believe that the electoral commission did not follow the constitution in conducting the presidential elections.

Justice Maraga ruled that the election and the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as President is invalid, null and void.

“Election is not an event, it is a process from the beginning to the end. Taking the totality of the entire exercise, we were satisfied that the election was not conducted in accordance with the dictates of the constitution,” said Justice Maraga.

The determination of the court were on the basis of whether the presidential elections were conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the [Kenyan] constitution and the law relating to elections, and whether there were irregularities or illegalities committed in the conduct of the presidential election.

“Now having heard from both sides, a declaration is thereby issued that the presidential election held on 8th August 2017 was not conducted in accordance with the constitution and the applicable law rendering the declared results invalid, Null and void.”

The supreme court judges also considered if there were irregularities and illegalities; what were there impact -if any -on the integrity of the election? And what consequential orders, declarations and relieves should the court grant -if any.

On this basis, the four judges decided to negate the election of Uhuru Kenyatta, in what would have become his second term in office.

“The third respondent [Uhuru] was not validly elected and declared as the president elect and that the declaration is invalid, null and void,” Justice Maraga went on to say.

The four judges directed the electoral commission to conduct fresh presidential elections within sixty days.

The ruling of the Supreme Court is final, and both parties representing the electoral commission and President Uhuru Kenyatta have yielded and agreed to abide by the court order.

However, Uhuru’s team of lawyers described the ruling as a “political” decision, but agreed to stick by the court decision.

The opposition described the ruling as historical and that it sets a good precedent for democratization and independence of judiciary across Africa.

The judges decision means Uhuru Kenyatta will not be sworn in as President.

Both Uhuru and Raila have campaigned on the platform of free education, lowering the cost of living, increasing jobs, fighting corruption, accelerating development and the economic growth of Kenya.

However, Mr. Odinga has lashed out on the Jubilee administration over corruption, saying more funds have been inflated or spend on individual business deals, rather than intended projects.

In defense, Mr. Kenyatta takes pride in what he calls; strengthening of institutions that are mandated by the constitution to fight the vices.