Kenya's Kenyatta pledges to stick to rule of law

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was formally declared winner of the country's repeat presidential election, has promised to abide by the constitution if his victory in the re-run is challenged in court.

Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati announced that Kenyatta garnered 7.48 million (98.26%) of the total votes cast, with his National Super Alliance (NASA) rival, Raila Odinga, only managing 73 228 votes (1%).

The opposition leader had rallied his supporters to boycott the October 26 ballot, which was marred by low turnout and violent protests in opposition strongholds.

"The total votes cast were 7.62 million and rejected ballots 37 713. This translates into a national voter turnout of 38.84%," Chebukati said.

Some 19.6 million Kenyans registered as voters.

Chebukati said the repeat poll was free and fair, despite opposition complaints over the vote that led to it boycotting the process.

In his acceptance speech, Kenyatta said his victory is likely to be subjected to a constitutional test through the courts.

He promised to submit to this legal path no matter its outcomes.

"If we remain committed to constitutionalism, the rule of law, respect for independent institutions and respect for human life, our democratic resilience will be assured. And this is my commitment to the General Will of All," said Kenyatta.

Kenyatta said despite the fact that his major competitor went to court demanding the presidential election be nullified and was granted that annulment, Odinga chose to ignore the rest of the ruling, which ordered a fresh election in 60 days conducted by IEBC.

Kenyatta thanked the many voters who turned up in the fresh elections to exercise their democratic right despite violent intimidation.

"I celebrate our resilience as a nation. I celebrate the resilience of our democracy, the resilience of our people and the resilience of our institutions. Our democratic resilience will not tire. It will not give in to obvious provocations and a base invitation to politics of darkness."

IEBC Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha said the election failed to take place in 25 constituencies, all located in Odinga's political bedrock of Western Kenya, after protesters prevented polls opening by blockading polling stations or intimidating voters.

The commission said those results from Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Homabay counties would not affect the final outcome so it could proceed with its announcement.

"The commission could not immediately determine an appropriate and practical time in compliance with Section 55 (b) of the Election Act, which requires that when an election is postponed it should be held at the earliest practicable time," Nkatha said.

Odinga's withdrawal from the fresh presidential race 16 days to the election, though anticipated, had sparked uncertainties in the country's body politic, economy, social cohesion and diplomatic engagement.

On Tuesday, Odinga announced the establishment of the People's Assembly, which he said is the vehicle through which the coalition will exercise the duty of restoring democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law.

The People's Assembly will be a broad-based forum consisting of elected leaders and the leadership of other sectors of society in particular workers, civil society, religious leaders, women, youth and economic interest groups, Odinga said.

He said the coalition will soon announce the date and program of the assembly's inaugural convention, stressing that the People's Assembly will continue to exist until a legitimate presidency is restored. – Xinhua 

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