In a first for Africa, Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the August 8 results of the East African country’s presidential election. The election results had President Uhuru Kenyatta winning at the polls over the opposition.
The reversal of Kenyatta’s win stunned the country, as well as African and global political pundits as a whole, for the most part. According to some analysts, the annulment of the vote shows a growing independence of the Kenyan courts.
The 4-to-2 court ruling came in response to a petition filed by challenger RailaOdinga, 72, who alleged widespread fraud in the election. Following the judgment, people in the court broke into cheers, with Odinga raising his fists in the air in celebration.
“This is indeed a very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension to the people of the continent of Africa,” he said outside the courthouse. “For the first time in the history of African democratization, a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular election of a president.”
While Kenyatta did not agree with the court’s ruling he did at the time pledge to respect it. However, later the Kenyan president railed against the judges for their decision when speaking to supporters “They have been paid by white people and other trash,” he said, adding that his party would watch the court’s actions. “Let’s move on,” he said. “But they will know we are also men.”
Chief Justice David Maraga described the results of last month’s election as “invalid, null and void.” He promised to issue full details of the ruling later. “Taking the totality of the entire evidence, we are satisfied that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the dictates of the constitution,” he said.