President Uhuru Kenyatta after he was announced winner of the repeat presidential election at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi County, on October 30, 2017. He says the petitions filed against his win have unsubstantiated claims. PHOTO | RAPHAEL NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Kenya’s Kenyatta defends his victory in repeat elections
NAIROBI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday defended his re-election in the repeat presidential election, saying the Oct. 26 poll was conducted in accordance with the constitution and the applicable law.
Kenyatta said in his response to election petition that despite acts of violence and intimidation in parts of the country, especially in National Super Alliance (NASA) perceived strongholds, the election met the constitutional and legal threshold of a credible, free and fair and election.
He wants the two petitions filed by Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa and another by Harun Mwau dismissed stating that the petitioners had tabled nothing tangible that would lead to the annulment of the poll.
The same position has been affirmed by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati who stated that the commission adhered to the laws and followed strictly the directive of the Supreme Court, when it nullified Aug, 8 election.
Chebukati further denied making haphazard decisions ahead of the fresh election but noted that he and the commission were guided by the decisions of the High Court and did consult the public and stakeholders.
He said the commission informed members of the public and stakeholders of its decisions and the measures put in place to ensure that the elections were conducted in full compliance of the law and the decision of the court.
President Kenyatta accused NASA leadership led by Raila Odinga of deliberately planning to disrupt the repeat elections by placing roadblocks ahead of Oct. 26.
He said the NASA leadership mobilized segments of the public including some members of the civil society to violently demonstrate and incite support to vigilantism orchestrated under the guise of peaceful protests.
To Kenyatta, the petition by Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa are no more than surrogates, agents and mouth-pieces of NASA and its leaders.
He stated that it is deceitful and misleading for the petitioners to masquerade as bona fide defenders of the public interest.
Kenyatta wants the petition dismissed stating that it has been filed in bad faith and at the behest of NASA.
He also stated that NASA and its leaders acted irrationally, irresponsibly and unreasonably on insisting on some aspects of its “irreducible minimums,” yet there was limited time within which IEBC could conduct the repeat election.
“The actions of the leadership of the 4th Respondent instilled fear through hate speech, threats and intimidation thereby ensuring that voters were prevented from exercising their constitutional right to vote and also led to loss of lives and destruction of property, all in a calculated attempt to subvert the democratic process and to ensure that no voting would take place on Oct. 26,” Kenyatta said in his response which filed at the Supreme Court on Sunday.
He also alleged that NASA and its supports disrupted ongoing training conducted by IEBC in Western Kenya counties and through its agents and supporters NASA unleashed violence and intimidation and in some instances, physically attacked IEBC officials who were undertaking preparation for the fresh presidential election thereby undermining the independence of the Commission.
Kenyatta said NASA agents and supporters barricaded polling stations, blocked the distribution of electoral materials and generally created an atmosphere toxic for the conduct of a free and fair election in the four counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori.
These acts, Kenyatta said, were deliberately designed and calculated to undermine the independence and credibility of the elections.
Kenyatta won the elections with 7.48 million votes in 266 out of 291 constituencies where the election took place. This represents 98.3 percent of valid votes.
Some 7.62 million Kenyans out of 19.61 million Kenyans cast their votes during the repeat exercise, representing 38.8 percent turnout.
On claims that the election should be invalidated because the Commission failed to subject candidates to fresh nominations as per Article 140 (3), Kenyatta stated that the Supreme Court invalidated the declaration of the results and ordered a fresh presidential election but the Judges, in the majority decision, did not invalidate the nominations.
He said that the purported withdrawal by NASA was done in bad faith and in an effort to mischievously undermine, sabotage and subvert a democratic election.
“In any event, the withdrawal of Raila Odinga would have been inconsequential since there were other candidates whose right to participate in the same election accrued from the time they were nominated as affirmed by the High Court in the Ekuru Aukot case,” the response reads.