Kenya: Top court blames electoral body for unfair polls

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has called judges 'crooks' and threatened to 'fix' the judiciary

Four of six Supreme Court judges on September 1 annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8 presidential elections victory following a successful petition by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The company provided two electronic systems that identified Kenyan voters and transmitted election results from nearly 41,000 polling stations to a central tallying center.

While a petition has been filed against two Supreme Court judges, accusing them of professional misconduct for allegedly being in touch with lawyers representing Odinga during the election case.

The court was offering detailed ruling as to why it annulled the August 8 election and ordered fresh presidential vote within 60 days.

The court ruled the electoral commission had committed "irregularities".

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NAIROBI, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Kenya's Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised the election board for failing to verify official results of last month's presidential election before announcing them, but did not find any individual at the board responsible for the failings.

The court ordered the election commission to hold a new election by the end of October, and the commission chose Oct. 17 as the new date. "On that ground alone and on the basis of the interpretation we have given to Section 83 of the Elections Act, we have no choice but to nullify it", said Mwilu.

"Failure of the electronic system was a direct violation of the law", Mwilu said.

The contempt shown by the commission, she went on, could be explained only by accepting, as Mr Odinga alleged, either that the electoral IT system "was infiltrated and compromised and the data therein interfered with", or else simply that the commission "refused to accept that it had bungled the transmission system and were unable to verify the data".

Wednesday's detailed ruling, plus opposition demands for an overhaul of the commission and warnings from the French firm that provided digital voting kits that it will not be ready on time, have raised fears it will be impossible to meet the poll deadline.

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Led by Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria, the protestors said they will continue with the protests until President Kenyatta is sworn in.

Supporters of Mr Kenyatta are unlikely to be persuaded by the ruling.

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.

Earlier, the chief justice had told a news conference that judges were getting death threats and the police were not offering adequate protection, an allegation that the chief of police denied.

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