Kenya Court: ‘We had no option but to annul the 2017 election’

Kenya Court: 'We had no option but to annul the 2017 election'
Justice Mwilu (2nd Left), read out the reasons why the Supreme Court Bench annulled the Presidential Election results. Courtesy Photo.

The Supreme Court of Kenya has given a more detailed explanation why it annulled the August 2017 Presidential election.

The court in a statement read by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said it had no option but to annul the election based on a petition by the opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) had in one of the grounds in the petition argued that the computer system at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had been hacked into and results falsified in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“Our order of scrutiny was a golden opportunity for the IEBC to place before the court evidence to debunk the petitioner’s claim. Failure by the board to do as ordered must be held against it,” said Justice Mwilu

Justice Mwilu condemned the country’s voting authority for failing to give the court full access to its computer servers.

She said the Electoral body in Kenya also denied the Supreme Court information about the IT system’s firewall configuration.

Mwilu said the court had “no choice but to accept the petitioner’s claims that IEBC’s IT system was infiltrated and compromised, and the data therein interfered with, or IEBC’s officials themselves interfered with the data.”

Three Supreme Court judges in a landmark declaration delivered on September 1 nullified the presidential election and asked IEBC to organize fresh elections.

The court says it based its judgment on three issues while determining whether or not to annul the election results.

These included whether the election was conducted within the principles laid down in the law, whether there were irregularities during the conduct of the general election and their impact on the integrity of the election.

Justice Mwilu said they also analysed “the violation of the principles in the constitution and the election law that the petitioners were complaining of.”

She said the IEBC could not explain why the results from more than 11,000 polling stations had not been received at tallying stations as required by law.

Mwilu said the IEBC relied on interim reports by election observers to argue their case that the elections were credible.

The Deputy Chief Justice said that the irregularities by IEBC would be found unconstitutional by any court “with its right mind.”

Justice Mwilu read the details while supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta who had been declared winner with 54% of the vote were protesting outside court.

The ruling Jubilee party supporters have since Tuesday been protesting against the Supreme Court judgement. Members of the bench have allegedly been facing threats from the time they delivered the ruling.

The country is due to hold fresh elections on October 17th.