Uhuru Kenyatta respects Kenya′s election nullification, but warns courts | News | DW | 02.09.2017
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Uhuru Kenyatta respects Kenya's election nullification, but warns courts

President Kenyatta respects the Supreme Court decision nullifying his election victory in Kenya. But battle lines are being drawn ahead of a rerun election - and the judiciary's role is coming under the spotlight.

Speaking on live television on Saturday at the State House in Nairobi after meeting elected officials from his Jubilee party, Kenyatta pledged to "fix" the judicial system.

He then went on to warn the chief justice and judiciary not to interfere with the electoral commission (IEBC) as the country prepares for a new presidential vote.

"Who even elected you?...We have a problem and we must fix it," he said.

On Friday, Chief Justice David Maraga declared Kenyatta's victory in August 8 polls "invalid, null and void," pointing to irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results.

The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) cried foul after the August poll over alleged hacking of the electronic system transmitting results from over 40,000 polling stations to the national tallying center.

Maraga said the Supreme Court's verdict had been backed by four of the six judges. Details of the ruling will be released within 21 days.

Electoral commission fate a key

The fate of the IEBC seems to be shaping up as the key battle between Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga in the rerun presidential election that needs to take place by October 31.

Odinga has demanded the commission be replaced, while IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said there would be some "internal changes" but refused to resign.

"Every time we do something a judge comes out and places an injunction. It can't go on like this," said Kenyatta.

"I think those robes they wear make them think that they are more clever than the rest of us Kenyans," Kenyatta said of the Supreme Court judges, taking aim at Maraga. "Maraga thinks he can overturn the will of the people. We shall show you... that the will of the people cannot be overturned by a few people."

Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okera condemned his remarks as "wholly inappropriate" and "ominous."

The previous commission was forced to stand down last October after widespread protests.

Kenyatta dismissed the option of a change at the IEBC, stating "we don't have time for any more reforms."

Press support for the judiciary

Kenya's press hailed the ruling as a victory for the rule of law and sign of a maturing democracy.

An editorial in The Nation newspaper said the ruling "signaled the end of the era of impunity that has painfully assailed this country for too long."

"Kenyans have struggled for decades to institutionalize the rule of law. We have fought, shed blood, lost lives and property in search of constitutional order," the paper said.

"How (the IEBC) will conduct the next elections in the next 60 days is unimaginable," said the Nation. The Standard said the IEBC must "clean up house."

"What Kenya needs most now is an election conducted in a legal, fair and transparent manner."

jbh/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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