Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vows to ‘fix’ judiciary after Supreme Court election annulment

'As a Supreme Court, they cannot annul the wishes of the people. And we will revisit this thing'

Will Worley
Saturday 02 September 2017 13:41 BST
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Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by his Deputy William Ruto, addresses the nation on the day his election victory was cancelled by Supreme Court Judges
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by his Deputy William Ruto, addresses the nation on the day his election victory was cancelled by Supreme Court Judges

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to “fix” the country’s judiciary, following the Supreme Court annulment of his election victory.

Mr Kenyatta’s win was yesterday declared “invalid, null and void” by four Supreme Court judges, who cited irregularities “in the transmission of results”.

A fresh election has been ordered for October.

But Mr Kenyatta, after initially calling for calm, has responded by saying “we clearly have a problem” with the judges who made the ruling.

Riots break out after Kenya election's contested result

Speaking at a party meeting at his official residence, Nairobi’s State House, Mr Kenyatta criticised the judges’ decision and said he would return to the issue if elected.

He said: “We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem. Who even elected you? Were you? We have a problem and we must fix it.”

Mr Kenyatta argued that the results of MPs, senators and governors were transmitted and “no one asked any questions”.

He continued: “The Supreme Court sat and decided that they are the ones with a bigger power than the 15 million Kenyans who woke up, queued in lines, and voted for their preferred presidential candidate.

“As a Supreme Court, they cannot annul the wishes of the people. And we will revisit this thing.”

Analysts saw the president’s latest comments on the judiciary as a worrying development.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that Kenyatta seems to be issuing veiled threats at the judiciary,” said Murithi Mutiga, a Nairobi-based senior Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group.

The election annulment came after the opposition party, the National Super Alliance, filed a petition to the country’s Supreme Court to overturn the result, and unexpectedly won by four judges to two.

Chief Justice David Maraga said the vote was unconstitutional.

Opposition leader, Raila Odinga, hailed the result as a “historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of Africa”.

But he also expressed concern over the integrity of election officials, calling for some to be prosecuted, and said it was “unimaginable” a new poll could be conducted in just two months.

Following the landmark judicial ruling, Mr Kenyatta first struck a conciliatory tone, saying: “Your neighbour will still be your neighbour, regardless of what has happened.

“My primary message today to every single Kenyan is peace. Let us be people of peace.”

The country was ravaged by post election violence in 2007, which left 1,200 people dead and another 600,000 displaced.

But later on Friday, he told a rally of supporters the judges were “crooks” and said Mr Maraga “should know that he is now dealing with the serving president ... We are keeping a close eye on them.”

His latest comments have added to anxieties over the potential fallout of the annulment.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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