Nairobi, Kenya. September 1st. In a continent in which sit tight presidents and juntas always find a way to “win” Presidential elections (Mugabe is 93), Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga has delivered a landmark and historic annulment of the contested presidential poll. “The presidential elections held on Aug. 8 were not conducted in accordance with the constitution and therefore declare them null and void,” said Chief Justice David Maraga.
Chief Justice and President of Supreme Court David Maraga said the Aug. 8 election where incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner had gross irregularities.
Kenyans have waited anxiously for the apex court to make a ruling on the election petition filed by opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, who opposed Kenyatta’s victory saying it was flawed.
Odinga in his petition cited massive electoral practices that included hacking of gadgets used for votes transmission as well as use of state resources by the incumbent during the campaign.
Four judges ruled in favor of Odinga’s petition challenging the results, while two ruled against.
Maraga said the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) failed, neglected or refused to conduct election in keeping with laws.
The poll marked the fourth time 72 year-old Odinga had lost an election, often citing irregularities. However, the Friday ruling is the first time a court has supported his claim.
When the opposition leader disputed Kenyatta’s victory after a similarly flawed election in 2013, the judges ruled that the election should stand, even though results from much of the country are not available even now.
Maraga said that he will not read the full judgment on Friday as it would take too long and people are anticipating the result. He said he will soon announce what he calls the “determination” of the court.
During the ruling, Maraga said the court found no evidence of misconduct on the part of the third respondent who is Kenyatta.
Two judges — Justices Jackton Ojwang’ and Lucy Ndung’u — dissented against the majority decision. Ndung’u said the election was conducted in accordance with constitution.
Ojwang’ said the petitioner did not have enough evidence.
Photo: Kenyan Justices that voted to annul presidential election. Chief Justice David Maraga on the left
The electoral body had previously declared Kenyatta the winner after garnering 54 percent of the votes cast. Kenyatta garnered 8.22 million against Odinga’s 6.82 million.
Odinga claimed the election was rigged in favor of Kenyatta through hacking and manipulation of the electronic vote-counting system
The ruling has been described as historic by legal experts who noted that nullification of presidential elections is a rare occurrence not just in Africa but across the globe. Kenya joins an exclusive club. Other instances in which High courts have nullified presidential elections are Ukraine (2004), Maldives (2014), Austria (2016) and of course now Kenya (2017)
Meanwhile Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that the Chief Justice ‘and his thugs’ cancelled the election.