Kenya Tightens Security Around Court as Key Ruling Delivered

  • Ruling to explain nullification of Aug. 8 presidential vote
  • Electoral authority postpones meeting to discuss rerun

Pro Kenyatta supporters attend a demonstration outside Kenya’s Supreme court in Nairobi on Sept. 19.

Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Kenyan police erected barricades and blocked roads around the Supreme Court as a five-judge bench delivered its detailed judgment on the annulment of last month’s presidential election.

The court began delivering the ruling shortly after 10 a.m. in the capital, Nairobi. Armed police patrolled the entrance to the court and trucks filled with security forces were parked outside the building.

The court on Sept. 1 nullified the outcome of the Aug. 8 ballot, the first time a presidential election result has been legally overturned in Africa, after finding the electoral commission committed “irregularities and illegalities” and failed to conduct the vote in line with the constitution. Wednesday’s written judgment is expected to provide reasons for its decision and possible remedies.

The declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of last month’s vote sparked protests and led to clashes between security forces and opposition supporters in which 24 people died, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, 72, has demanded sweeping changes at the electoral commission, including the removal of Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, before the rerun, which is scheduled for Oct. 17.

The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission postponed a planned meeting with the ruling Jubilee Party and Odinga’s National Super Alliance that was to have taken place on Wednesday until after the ruling, Chairman Wafula Chebukati said.

“The ruling will inform discussions on preparations for fresh polls,” he said by text message.

— With assistance by Felix Njini

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