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Kenya court nullifies president's win, calls for new vote

Kenya court nullifies president's win, calls for new vote

On his part, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) lawyer, Paul Muite, welcomed the ruling saying: "The Supreme Court has spoken, right or wrong the Supreme Court has spoken".

Kenya's stock exchange halted trading briefly midway through Friday's session after blue chip shares plummeted following the Supreme Court's decision to annul the result of the August 8 presidential election.

Mr Odinga and his co-petitioners maintained there were widespread irregularities in the elections that their integrity had been compromised.

"They (police) came to beat and shoot at us when we protested the election results, but now the truth is out", said Jackson Oduor in Kisumu.

He also said the commission is open to investigations and prosecution of officers found culpable of mishandling the August 8 presidential election.

"It's historic and it could potentially be a moment that consolidates Kenya's democratic credentials", said Crisis Group analyst Murithi Mutiga, adding that the fate of the election board could "trigger a crisis" if there was no consensus. It also raised questions for worldwide monitors, who had declared the election fair. In 1997, former President Mwai Kibaki challenged the election of President Daniel Arap Moi in court and the case was thrown away by court simply because the former never served the latter with petition papers.

A new election be conducted within the next 60 days. Kenyatta, the son of the first president, is a Kikuyu and his deputy is a Kalenjin. Odinga's supporters at first had said they would not go to court this time but filed a petition two weeks ago.

Joyous celebrations erupted outside the court and in Nairobi slums after the second term victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared "invalid, null and void".

But lawyers for the election commission and Kenyatta countered that errors were simply "clerical" mistakes and technicalities that did not affect the outcome of the vote.

Announcing the decision, Chief Justice David Maraga argued that the election had "not been conducted in accordance with the constitution..."

Odinga's lawyer had asked the court to invalidate Kenyatta's win, saying a scrutiny of the forms used to tally the votes had anomalies that affected almost 5 million votes. He said the forms also were not signed, as required to ensure accountability.

"The question of legitimate election was settled by the Court of Appeal when they said the IEBC must be fully above suspicion and command the respect of Kenyans", said Orengo. The electoral commission declared Kenyatta the victor three days later.


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