Kenya: Supreme Court can’t Hear Petition to Delay Election – Chief Justice

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Uhuru-Kenyatta

Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court could not hear a case to delay elections because there are not enough judges present to make a quorum.

Mr. Maraga said: “as the two of us cannot form a quorum, this matter cannot be heard this morning.

“The court was due to hear a case seeking to delay Thursday’s repeat presidential election.

NAN reports that those who filed the petition are Khelef Khalifa, Executive Director of Muslims for Human Rights; Samwel Mohochi, Executive Director of the International Commission of Jurists; and Nahason Kamau.

They said that the credibility of the vote is not assured, citing political interference among other concerns.

Streets around the court in downtown Nairobi were blocked by police barriers and officers in anti-riot gear.

The court, created by a 2010 constitution that followed a violent political crisis three years earlier, was due to hear several cases challenging the legality of Thursday’s election, which is being boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won the August election before it was annulled due to procedural irregularities, has made clear he wants the vote to go ahead although some in his party fear Odinga’s boycott will undermine the credibility of any victory.

One petition, brought by prominent human rights activist Mr. Khalifa, is calling for a delay in the vote on grounds that the election board is not sufficiently prepared.

Around 1,200 people were killed in ethnic clashes after the disputed election in 2007.

Since the August vote, nearly 50 people have been killed in political unrest, almost all of them at the hands of the police.

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Tensions have been mounting in the East African country ahead of the poll rerun, with almost daily mass protests and foreign diplomats warning a fair election cannot be guaranteed.

On August 18, a senior official in the country’s electoral commission fled to the U.S. saying she had received death threats.

(Reuters/NAN)

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