Kenya vote row: Kenyatta Vows To ‘Fix’ Court

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The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has said his country has “a problem” with its judiciary after the Supreme Court cancelled his victory in last month’s presidential election.

Speaking on live television, he vowed to “fix” the court if re-elected.

It comes a day after the Supreme Court cited irregularities in the vote and ordered a new one within 60 days.

Mr. Kenyatta has said he will respect the ruling and called for calm amid fears of unrest.

But at a rally in Nairobi on Friday he branded the Supreme Court judges “crooks”.

The 8 August poll raised fears of major violence similar to that following a disputed vote in 2007.

Deputy President William Ruto has called on the electoral commission to set a date for fresh presidential elections, saying the governing Jubilee Party is ready.

But opposition candidate Raila Odinga wants the commission replaced, saying it has lost credibility.

The decision to annul the election was an unprecedented move in Africa where governments often hold power over judges. It is believed to be the first time on the continent that a court has ruled against the electoral win of an incumbent based on a court challenge by the opposition.

“We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem,” Mr Kenyatta said of the judiciary during his television address on Saturday.

“Who even elected you? Were you? We have a problem and we must fix it.”

Although the unrest in this year’s vote was not as serious as in 2007, days of sporadic protests left at least 28 people dead.

Kenya’s election commission had declared Mr Kenyatta the winner by a margin of 1.4 million votes but the result was immediately challenged in court by his nearest rival, Mr Odinga.

In a ruling on Friday, Chief Justice David Maraga said the 8 August election had not been conducted in accordance with the constitution, declaring it “invalid, null and void”.

Meanwhile, seven Kenyan teenage schoolgirls died and 10 more were hospitalized after a fire engulfed their boarding school dormitory in Nairobi early on Saturday morning, a government official said.

The cause of the fire was not known, and the government ordered Moi Girls School closed for two weeks while it investigated, education minister Fred Matiangi told reporters when he visited the school.

“A fire broke out at the school at 2:00am in the morning in one of the dormitories,” said Matiangi. He said the school, which has nearly 1,200 students, is “one of our top schools in the country and… (one) that we are very proud of.”

Fires have in the past claimed the lives of dozens of Kenyan boarding school students. In 2001, 58 schoolboys were killed in a dormitory fire at Kyanguli Secondary School outside Nairobi. In 2012, eight students were killed at a school in Homa Bay County in western Kenya.

Lax safety standards and poor emergency procedures have been blamed for some past fires at schools and for other tragedies such as the collapse of a residential building in Nairobi in May that killed nearly 50 people.

The Kenyan police did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Saturday morning.

A shaken 16-year-old schoolgirl, Daniella Maina, told Reuters: “We were sleeping and a girl woke us up and said that our hostel was burning.

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