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April 19 - 25, 2013

 

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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Court finds no evidence to
annul Kenyatta election

The 67-year-old Odinga said Kenya is more important than an individual and urged Kenyatta to reunite all Kenyans and uphold constitutionalism
 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Supreme Court judges on Tuesday gave detailed reasons why they upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the fourth president, saying ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s evidence was insufficient.

In a 113-page ruling, the six-judge bench said they took into account all the evidence submitted by the lawyers representing Odinga and his co-petitioners and resolved that the evidence did not merit nullification of Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election.

The country’s highest court said that after weighing all the evidence and submissions tabled before it by the petitioners and respondents, it arrived at a conclusion that the election could have been faced by challenges but it could not be perfect.

We came to the conclusion that, by no means can the conduct of this election be said to have been perfect, even though, quite clearly, the election had been of the greatest interest to the Kenyan people, and they had voluntarily come out into the polling stations, for the purpose of electing the occupant of the Presidential office,” the judges said.

The East African nation had been waiting for a detailed explanation from the Supreme Court since their initially ruling on March 30.

The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) declared Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya’s first president, president with 50.07 percent of the March 4 vote, enough to avoid a runoff.

The court said that it had already considered the foundations of the main grievances applying to the use of technology in the electoral process.

The judges said the main technological grievances “as regards the acquisition of electronic technology for the electoral process; with regard to the partial employment of such technology, before reverting to the manual process; as regards the maintenance of a Voter Register; and in relation to the tallying of votes,” were put into consideration during the ruling.

We have considered the extent to which any breach of the law would have been occasioned in the several areas of operation, and whether such, would disclose reprehensible conduct having the effect of negating the voters’ intent,” they said.

We have considered the evidence which came by way of depositions, and which was vigorously canvassed by the parties. We recommend that this matter be entrusted to the relevant state agency, for further investigation and possible prosecution of suspects,” said the ruling.

The failure of the systems was one of the pillars of the presidential election petition that former PM Odinga had lodged but lost. The court said that the evidence failed to disclose any profound irregularity.

In summary, the evidence, in our opinion, does not disclose any profound irregularity in the management of the electoral process, nor does it gravely impeach the mode of participation in the electoral process by any of the candidates who offered himself or herself before the voting public,” said the judges.

It is not evident, on the facts of this case, that the candidate declared as the President-elect had not obtained the basic vote-threshold justifying his being declared as such.”

But Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) who had challenged the election results, citing what it said were voter irregularities however, had accepted the ruling of the court after all of the six judges unanimously upheld Kenyatta’s victory on March 30.

The 67-year-old Odinga said Kenya is more important than an individual and urged Kenyatta to reunite all Kenyans and uphold constitutionalism.

It’s our view that this court process is yet another milestone in our long road towards democracy for which we have fought so long. Enforcing the spirit and letter of the constitution remains the only sure way to peace and prosperity for our young democracy, “ Odinga said On March 30.

Odinga had challenged the declaration of Kenyatta as the president-elect and his deputy William Ruto by the IEBC after the March 4 polls.

Civil Society organization had also filed a petition at the same court questioning the conduct of the elections, while a third petition was filed by activists Moses Kuria and Dennis Itumbi on the question of spoilt votes.

In the judgement, the six bench judge agreed that the March 4 elections cannot be said to have been perfect as much as it’s of great interest to Kenyans.

The six judges of the court had to determine whether the presidential election was conducted in a free, fair and credible manner. It will also determine whether Kenyatta and his deputy, Ruto, were validly declared as such and if rejected votes should have been included in the final tally of the poll.

Political analyst says that the explanation of the judges will be an academic exercise, since it will not change the outcome of the presidential vote.

Some 12.3 million Kenyans voted in presidential elections in which Kenyatta narrowly avoided a run-off by winning 50.7 percent of the ballots against his close challenger, Odinga who garnered 43.4 percent.

However, Odinga challenged Kenyatta’s victory, saying that vote totals from some polling stations had been altered. The president- elect’s victory was however, upheld by Supreme Court on Saturday which ruled that Kenyatta was validly elected.

The historic elections were being watched closely by both local and international poll monitors who have said the election was credible and called on the political leadership to maintain peace as they await the presidential petition at the Supreme Court.

The March 4 polls were the very first to be held since the 2007/ 2008 post election violence, when, within a 7 week period following the polls, and as a direct consequence of the contested results, thousands of civilians were victims of serious crimes, including killings, sexual and gender based violence, forced internal displacements, destruction of properties.

The elections were important also because these elections will be the very first to be organized under Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, which provides for safeguards against unfair, insecure, corrupted, non transparent or inefficiently administrated elections.

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