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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- National Super Alliance (NASA) supporters demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi, Sept. 20, 2017. A comprehensive ruling on why the Supreme Court nullified Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the Aug. 8 polls issued on Wednesday drew mixed reactions from the two sides of the political divide in Kenya. XINHUA PHOTO: CHARLES ONYANGO

Cheers and jeers as Kenya Supreme Court issue full polls ruling 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A comprehensive ruling on why the Supreme Court nullified Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the Aug. 8 polls issued on Wednesday drew mixed reactions from the two sides of the political divide in Kenya.

While Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party supporters castigated the ruling and maintained their tough stand against the apex court, noting their victory was stolen, opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) has hailed the verdict, adding that they had been vindicated.

The judges led by Chief Justice David Maraga in their ruling observed that the electoral commission violated the law and the constitution to the extent that the election results were untenable.

They noted that the electoral commission announced results after an illegal process and could not provide all the necessary documents as ordered by the court.

They ordered that in conducting repeat presidential election on Oct. 17, the electoral commission must put in place a complementary system that would help guarantee transparency and credibility.

Justice Jackton Ojwang, who dissented in his ruling, on the other hand said the election was conducted in an open and transparent manner, just as it was confirmed by the international observers.

Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi, who represented Kenyatta in the presidential petition, castigated the ruling of the judges who annulled the polls.

“The Supreme Court in the majority judgment is wrong. It is getting first year law or 101 law wrong, distorting evidence that we presented,” he said.

He noted that in the majority judgment, the judges did not even mention in a sentence the thousands of documents Kenyatta submitted as evidence of his win.

“The ruling is pedestrian, too simplistic and shocking,” he added.

Jubilee Party MP and Kenyatta’s fierce supporter Kimani Ichungwa termed the Supreme Court majority verdict as a farce and praised the dissenting judges.

“This ruling was about those who read vs those who can’t read. Why is Justice Ojwang not the chief justice? His elegance and the content of his ruling make the chief justice appear crass,” he said.

However, on the other side of the political divide, lawyers supporting Odinga said the judges had laid bare the irregularities and illegalities committed during the Aug. 8 polls.

“Uhuru Kenyatta must have seen the pain and struggle that the Supreme Court went through to spare him culpability for election offences despite clear evidence,” lawyer Nelson Havi said.

Lawyer Donald Kipkorir also noted that the Supreme Court ruling had given Kenya global recognition and affirmation that the country’s constitution was truly supreme and alive.

“Elections aren’t just about the results numbers, but the process. Elections is not an event, but a lengthy process,” he said.

On the streets and social media, opinions among both Jubilee and NASA supporters was equally divided on the apex court ruling, with the fault-lines drawn clearly among party lines.

While NASA supporters said their leader Raila Odinga had been vindicated in his claims that the election was stolen, those in Jubilee failed to see why Kenyatta’s victory had been annulled.

“The Supreme Court ruling has detailed the offences the electoral commission officials committed. There is no way the same body can carry the repeat elections with all the violations, illegalities and contempt,” said Derrick Oloo, a supporter of Odinga.

Clothes seller George Musya said he expected the electoral commission officials to resign on their own after the court ruling.

“They declared the winner of the polls without the actual results. They must do the honorable thing and pave way for new officials. What the ruling shows is that they belong to jail and must not even be preparing for the Oct. 17 polls,” he said.

“President Kenyatta was found not culpable of doing any mistake in the elections, so why cancel his win?” said Bernard Nderitu, a diehard supporter of Kenyatta and a taxi driver.

“We will go back to the polls and win with a landslide whether the electoral commission is reformed or not. This was a great injustice,” he lamented.

Analysts noted that with the ruling, the electoral commission can now go to the new polls with a clear mind of what to do to hold free and fresh polls.

 

Kenya beefs up security amid judgment by top court

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan police on Wednesday enhanced security and barricaded some roads near Supreme Court as the full judgment of the nullified presidential polls were being delivered.

Several anti-riot police were positioned along major streets near the top court building directing away motorists and pedestrians.

The increased security presence comes a day after Chief Justice David Maraga publicly complained that Inspector of Police Joseph Boinett had ignored their calls to enhance security to judicial officers and the court.

However, Boinnet denied the claims, saying every judge has armed officer and all courts are protected.

A huge police barricade was also placed outside the Supreme Court signaling no through way. A similar blockade was imposed before Sept. 1 as the court heard the case that led to the nullification of the results.

Boinnet said on Wednesday they would not allow protests outside the Supreme Court, a day after a group of ruling party supporters blocked the entrance of the court for hours accusing judges there of stealing their alleged victory.

Boinnet also warned against blocking of major roads in protest against or for the Supreme Court. “We will not allow anyone to block roads. Social media users are also warned to desist from spreading lies and threats,” he said.

Some social media users had been sending alarming alerts on alleged attacks on motorists, which the police found were untrue. This caused panic among road users.

The ruling party supporters blocked major highways in Nairobi, central and northwest Kenya in protest against the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the presidential polls of August 8.

On Wednesday a group of opposition supporters arrived as the judges continued to read their verdict and kept dancing and celebrating outside the court for hours as police watched from a distance.

The protests inconvenienced many motorists with traffic jam snaking for up to 20 kilometers away on some roads.

Boinett said the police are under instructions to disperse any group blocking roads. Tens of anti-riot police have been put on standby to act in case of violence ahead of the release of the judgment.

Meanwhile, chaos broke out outside Supreme Court in Nairobi when police used tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters that had blocked the entrance for some hours.

However, both the security officers and protesters outside the Supreme Court were forced to flee after they were attacked by bees.

The injured who was stung by the bees that attacked was rushed to hospital. The police and protesters were forced to retreat at a safe distance but away from the Supreme Court gate. 

It was not established where the bees came from as the judges continued to deliver the full judgment of the Aug. 8 presidential elections which have since been nullified.

           

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