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Kenyan Supreme Court Upholds October Election Results

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a Jubilee Party campaign rally in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 23, 2017.

Kenya’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that Uhuru Kenyatta won last month's presidential election, striking down arguments that the law was not followed in conducting the repeat poll.

Chief Justice David Maraga announced the decision following three days of hearings.

“The presidential election of 26th October is hereby upheld as is the election of the third respondent,” he said.

The head of the court dismissed the two petitions filed by a former lawmaker and two human rights defenders.

The October vote was a rerun of the August presidential election. Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the initial vote, but the Supreme Court ruled the result was invalid because of irregularities in the transmission of vote counts.

Kenyatta's main challenger Raila Odinga boycotted the October poll, saying the Independent Boundaries and Election Commission was not ready to conduct a credible election.

Kenya's opposition leader, Raila Odinga, centre, joins his supporters in the Mathare area where four people were killed overnight, in Nairobi, Nov. 19, 2017.
Kenya's opposition leader, Raila Odinga, centre, joins his supporters in the Mathare area where four people were killed overnight, in Nairobi, Nov. 19, 2017.

The petitioners challenged Kenyatta's victory in the Supreme Court, arguing that the commission was supposed to conduct a fresh nomination process after Odinga withdrew. They also argued the election should not stand since 25 constituencies did not participate in the repeat poll.

In a statement, the chairman of the electoral commission, Wafula Chebukati, said the unanimous decision by the court affirmed the agency's resolve and effort to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

After the ruling, some Kenyatta supporters took the streets to celebrate the verdict.

Mercy Njoki is one of them.

“I am so happy with the ruling. I waited for it for so long, and God has listened to our prayers,” said Njoki.

Another Kenyatta supporter, James Chege, wants to see the president reaching out to all citizens.

“During the election, there were three groups, one are those who voted for him, second those who did not vote for him and thirdly those who did not vote. He has to unite all these people, 45 million Kenyans he has to unite them,” he said.

Opposition supporter Amos Onyango was disappointed with the verdict.

“I am not happy with those judges first of all because their ruling is not good. The election on 26th was very bad. It was not an election. You cannot decide Uhuru won. We have many parts of Kenya people did not vote,” said Onyango.

Protests and clashes broke out in pro-Odinga neighborhoods of Nairobi after the verdict, and on Sunday, unknown people killed at least six people in Nairobi. Odinga blamed the state for the killings. The police have denied the accusation and said they were investigating the deaths.

Kenyatta is expected to be sworn in on November 28. The opposition said they will not recognize his presidency and will continue to fight for what they call electoral justice.

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