Kenyan president, election overturned by court, attacks judiciary

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2 September 2017

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Saturday the country had a problem with its judiciary, which annulled his election win of last month, “and we must fix it”, APA reports quoting Reuters.

 

The Law Society of Kenya said in a strongly worded statement that Kenyatta, as “the head of state who under the constitution is a symbol of national unity”, should refrain from derogatory comments about the judiciary.

 

Kenyatta, speaking a day after the Supreme Court canceled his victory and ordered new polls within 60 days, repeated his message from Friday that he would respect its ruling. But, speaking on live television at the State House in Nairobi after meeting elected officials from his Jubilee party, he added

 

“Who even elected you?...We have a problem and we must fix it.” He did not elaborate.

 

The decision to annul the election was unexpected and unprecedented in Africa where governments often hold sway over judges.

 

The president’s latest comments mark the second time since Friday’s ruling that he has criticized the judiciary in public. On Friday, during an impromptu rally in Nairobi, he accused the court of ignoring the will of the people and dismissed the chief justice’s colleagues as “wakora”, or crooks.

 

The lawyers’ association condemned Kenyatta’s use of the Kiswahili word, saying that the judges serving in the highest court had acted “professionally, with honor and dignity”.

 

“They...do not deserve the disrespectful treatment they are being shown”, the statement read.

 

The president’s appearances since the ruling suggest he intends to campaign rigorously for the re-run of the Aug.8 poll.

 

He said via Twitter on Saturday: “For now let us meet at the ballot.”

 

Attention now turns back to the election board. The court ruled that it had “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution”.

 

Raila Odinga, the veteran opposition leader whose coalition brought the petition against the election board to the Supreme Court, said on Friday that some officials from the commission should face criminal prosecution.

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