Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenya’s Supreme Court said Thursday that it would issue its ruling Monday on challenges to the validity of the October 26 presidential re-run election won by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.
Chief Justice David Maraga said the six-judge bench would hand down its decision by Monday, the constitutional deadline, having finished hearing two days of oral arguments.
“We want to thank you for your courtesy to each other and the court except for a few remarks here and there and we want to encourage this kind of conduct to be continued,” Maraga said.
Maraga was thrust into the spotlight after annulling the original August 8 vote, a decision hailed worldwide as a chance to deepen Kenya’s democracy and set an example for other African nations.
But the decision led instead to unrest and acrimony that has left the nation bruised and deeply divided, though Kenyatta has said he will abide by the final ruling “no matter its outcomes”.
Former lawmaker and businessman John Harun Mwau submitted one petition challenging the vote, while another was filed jointly by Njonjo Mue, a human rights and judicial expert, and Khelef Khalifa, director of Muslims for Human Rights.
Lawyers for Mwau have argued that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should have conducted fresh nominations ahead of the October 26 vote.
Mue and Khalifa’s counsel has argued that violence and intimidation and a lack of independence for the IEBC — whose own chairman Wafula Chebukati claimed he could not guarantee a free and fair election — meant the re-run vote was not in line with the constitution.
Chebukati later changed his mind and said the election could go ahead.
If the judges validate Kenyatta’s win, he will be invested on November 28. Otherwise a third election will have to be organised within 60 days.
Although he obtained 98 percent of votes cast last month, participation was only 38.8 percent, compared with 79 percent in August, after the opposition, led by Raila Odinga, boycotted the new election.
The opposition has also called for demonstrations, economic boycotts of certain companies and a campaign of civil disobedience.
Before the second vote, the Supreme Court had found by a majority vote of four judges to two that the initial election was marred by widespread illegalities and irregularities.
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