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Kenya Supreme Court to hear case on 2nd poll challenges

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file image shows Kenyan Supreme court judges attending a hearing seeking to nullify the results of the October 26 repeat presidential election in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Kenya’s Supreme Court is set to examine petitions challenging the re-election last month of President Uhuru Kenyatta, in what might be the last legal inspection of the poll.

All the six judges of the Supreme Court showed up for a meeting on Tuesday to evaluate appeals against the process last month amid tight security outside the courtroom.

The Supreme Court has been the center stage of Kenyan politics since it annulled the outcome of the country’s presidential election in August. The decision led to a repeat election on October 26.

The judges are expected to announce when the proceedings will commence and whether the court will hear all three petitions filed — one by a former lawmaker and the other two by civil society organizations.

The development comes as the court has not convened since the day before last month’s poll, when it had been due to deliberate on a last-minute demand to put off the vote. The hearing, however, was cancelled since enough judges did not show up to make a quorum.

At the time, the judges demanded more security following the shooting death of the bodyguard of the deputy chief justice a day prior to the hearing and insisted that they would refuse to attend hearings without tightened security, according to a judicial source, who added that the government had turned down the judges’ request.

Kenyatta rose to power in 2013 and won a second and final term in August, defeating opposition leader Raila Odinga by 1.4 million votes.

Odinga, however, did not challenge the repeat election last month, asserting that it would be useless since he said the election commission had failed to implement reforms.

Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote, as opposition supporters staged a boycott and prevented polls from opening in the west of the east African nation.

The country’s Supreme Court was established by a 2010 constitution that followed a violent political crisis three years earlier. Nearly 1,200 people were killed in ethnic clashes following Kenya’s 2007 disputed election. 

According to human rights groups, at least 66 people have been killed in bloody clashes over the latest two presidential polls.

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