Kenyan Prosecutor Probes Vote Officials Over Botched Election

  • Court annulled Aug. 8 vote over ‘illegalities, irregularities’
  • Presidential-election rerun is scheduled for Oct. 26

Kenyan Supreme Court judges.

Photographer: Sayyid Abdul Azim/AP

Kenya’s public prosecutor ordered an investigation into the country’s electoral authority over its handling of last month’s annulled presidential election.

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions investigators will seek to establish whether officials at the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission committed any crimes, according to a statement posted on its Twitter account on Saturday. The ODPP asked for the investigation to be completed within 21 days.

The probe will focus on the “irregularities and illegalities found by the Supreme Court of Kenya to have been committed by the IEBC” in the Aug. 8 vote, the office said. A rerun is scheduled for Oct. 26.

The new vote has clouded the outlook for East Africa’s biggest economy where growth is already slowing, and risks tainting its reputation as one of the continent’s top investment destinations. Kenya is the world’s largest shipper of black tea and a regional hub for companies including General Electric Co. and Coca-Cola Co.

The court nullified the ballot on Sept. 1, the first time a presidential-election result has been legally overturned in Africa, after finding the commission failed to conduct the vote in line with the constitution. The court cited a litany of failures, including that the body declared the outcome of the vote without the proper documents.

Opposition Probe

The ODPP investigation follows a demand by the main opposition National Super Alliance that the prosecutor charge electoral officials for allegedly breaking the law to influence the election. President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the vote over opposition candidate Raila Odinga.

IEBC spokesman Andrew Limo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The prosecutor will also probe two officials from the opposition alliance, including co-leader Musalia Mudavadi and lawyer James Orengo, after Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party alleged that the two unlawfully accessed the IEBC’s computer servers. Alliance spokeswoman Kathleen Openda didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Odinga has demanded an overhaul of the electoral authority, including the removal of key officials including Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, before he’ll take part in the rerun. Kenyatta has called the court’s decision to overturn the vote a “judicial coup,” but said that he’ll abide by the ruling.

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