Kenya top court releases ruling upholding presidential election results

[JURIST] Kenya's Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday released a 113-page judgment [text] upholding the results of the March presidential election. The court unanimously upheld the results [JURIST report] last month but just released its reasoning, finding that the process was flawed but not illegal. The results of the March 4 election, in which President Uhuru Kenyatta [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] won by 50.7 percent of the vote, were challenged by former prime minister Raila Odinga [Al Jazeera profile]. The court held that the evidence did not show "any profound irregularity in the management of the electoral process" or that Kenyatta had not obtained the basic vote-threshold. According to the court's ruling:

We take judicial notice that Kenya, thanks to the relentlessness of the people's democratic struggles, has recently enacted for herself the current Constitution, which assures for every citizen an opportunity for personal security and for self-actualization in a free environment. The Judiciary in general, and this Supreme Court in particular, has a central role in the protection of that Constitution and in the realization of its fruits so these may inure to all within our borders; and in the exercise of that role, we choose to keep our latitude of judicial authority unclogged: so the Supreme Court may be trusted to have a watchful eye over the play of the Constitution in the fullest sense.
The court concluded that this was a unique case at a crucial historical moment.

In March Odinga appealed the results of Kenya's 2013 election [JURIST reports] to Kenya's Supreme Court. Later that month Kenya's Supreme Court ruled that the results of the country's presidential election were valid. Kenyatta is currently facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for violence during the 2007 election. Earlier in March Kenyatta's lawyer asked the ICC to drop the charges [JURIST report] against him for lack of evidence, but the prosecution refused. Kenyatta's request was based on the ICC's withdrawal [decision, PDF] of charges against co-defendant Francis Muthaura for lack of evidence. Kenyatta's lawyers claimed the evidence against Muthaura and Kenyatta was the same, but the prosecution disagreed. Kenyatta's trial was previously postponed [JURIST report], and it will begin on July 9.

 

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