The historic decision of the Kenyan Supreme Court to annul the result of last month’s presidential election, citing irregularities, has been welcomed in the international community.
Even though President Uhuru Kenyatta says he disagrees with the verdict he has pledged to respect it. The country must now hold a new presidential election within two months.
It has now emerged that the evidence of IT experts commissioned by the Supreme Court swayed the majority of the judges to decide in favour of cancellation, the first such decision in Kenya and indeed Africa.
Here are the details of the IT expert’s evidence:
- Nearly a third of the results forms have irregularities: some are blank, some are signed in the same handwriting, some come from polling stations that didn’t officially exist, some show results that differed from the totals, and from the totals announced by the electoral commission, and thousands lack official stamps, signatures, and watermarks
- Some five million votes, enough to affect the outcome, were not verified
- On examining the electoral commission logs the Supreme Court-appointed team found that numerous unauthorised users had entered the system before and after the election
Chief Justice David Maraga said that the court will release the full ruling in due course.
Kenya’s opposition leader and candidate at the 8th August polls Raila Odinga has described the Supreme Court’s annulment as a “very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of the continent of Africa”.
He however called for an overhaul of the electoral commission as it won’t be able to conduct a credible rerun as presently constituted. A demand that the commission seems to have taken seriously as it has pledged to reshuffle some of its key officials.
Odinga had challenged the result of the election in court, claiming serious irregularities that distorted the will of the voters as expressed by the official results.
Meanwhile, countries which originally praised the presidential election as free and fair have now turned around to back its cancellation. Ambassadors from the US, Canada and various European countries in Nairobi have issued a joint statement praising the court decision annulling the polls. They described the decision as “an important moment for Kenya”.
“The Court has worked diligently, openly, and thoroughly”, EU election observers in Kenya said in a separate statement on Friday. The EU “now calls on all Kenyans to respect the ruling”, they added. The EU had initially said there were no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the vote, but had listed “shortcomings”.
Kenya’s electoral institutions now must begin preparing for a new presidential poll later this year and we urge everyone to work to make it free, fair, credible, and peaceful, the EU said.