Kenyan president, election overturned by court, attacks judiciary

By Maggie Fick

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Saturday the country has “a problem” with its judiciary that must be fixed.

He was speaking a day after the Supreme Court annulled his election win last month and ordered a new poll within 60 days.

“We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem,” he said, referring to the judiciary.

“Who even elected you? Were you? We have a problem and we must fix it,” he said, speaking on live television at the State House in Nairobi after he met with governors and other elected officials from his Jubilee party.

Kenyatta, however, also repeated his message from Friday that he would respect the court’s ruling.

The decision to annul the election was an unprecedented move in Africa where governments often hold sway over judges — and the first time on the continent that a court ruled against the electoral victory of an incumbent.

The president’s latest comments mark the second time since Friday’s ruling that he has spoken critically about 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 president’s public appearances since the ruling suggest he intends to campaign rigorously ahead of 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.

The chairman of the election board said there would be personnel changes, but it was not clear if that would be enough for the opposition. Sweeping out the whole board would complicate efforts to hold a new poll within two months.

Last month’s election — which included the presidential poll in addition to races at other levels of government — was one of the most expensive ever held in Africa. Ahead of the vote Kenya’s treasury said preparation and execution of polling would cost the equivalent of around $480 million.

VEILED THREATS

Analysts saw the president’s latest comments on the judiciary as a worrisome development.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that…

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