Kenya:Braces for Supreme Court ruling on polls

Police in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi have sealed off roads near the country’s Supreme Court as judges prepare to issue a detailed ruling on why they invalidated last month’s presidential poll results.

Kenya’s election board authorities had declared that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won the August 8 election by a margin of 1.5 million votes, though that figure was dismissed by opposition leader Raila Odinga, who insisted that he had been robbed off the 2017 election, as well as the two previous polls.

Kenya’s Supreme Court then ordered a new election to be held within 60 days, and Kenyatta pledged to respect the ruling despite repeatedly and strongly criticizing it.

The development comes amid persisting voter concerns on whether the vote was annulled based on procedural issues or because there had been proof of systematic rigging.

The court has already declared in a brief ruling that a number of tally sheets were not signed or officially stamped.

The court is to read a detailed ruling on the disputed election on Wednesday.

The country’s chief justice had announced in a press briefing that judges were getting death threats and police authorities were not providing adequate protection, an allegation rejected by the chief of police.

On Tuesday, Kenyan police used tear gas to disperse protesters affiliated with the ruling party and angry at the court’s decision to invalidate Kenyatta’s re-election. In a couple of towns, ruling party supporters used stones to block main roads.

David Maraga, who serves as the chief justice and president of the Supreme Court, said the Tuesday demonstration was a sign of rising threats against the judiciary.

“Since the Supreme Court delivered judgment… these threats have become more aggressive,” Maraga said in a briefing with reporters outside the court, adding that individual judges and their staff have become subject to numerous threats on social media.

Odinga has said that he would boycott a repeat vote scheduled for October 17 unless the government responded to his demands, including the sacking of some staff at the electoral commission.

Meanwhile, police have said they intend to disperse any protest rally on Wednesday.

By Agencies

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