Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday lashed out at the judiciary for overturning his re-election, and refused opposition demands to replace the tarnished polls commission.
While repeating his assertion that he respected the Supreme Court decision, a bellicose Kenyatta set the stage for a bitter and tense re-run of the presidential election which must take place before October 31.
Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday declared Kenyatta’s victory in August 8 polls “invalid, null and void”, pointing to widespread irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results.
“Every time we do something a judge comes out and places an injunction. It can’t go on like this … there is a problem and we must fix it,” said Kenyatta.
“I think those robes they wear make them think that they are more clever than the rest of us Kenyans,” Kenyatta said of the Supreme Court judges, taking specific aim at Maraga.
“Maraga thinks he can overturn the will of the people. We shall show you … that the will of the people cannot be overturned by a few people.”
On Friday he slammed the judges as “crooks” — after weeks of urging the opposition to turn to the courts and “use whatever legal mechanisms that have been created via our wonderful constitution to express their dissatisfaction.”
Law Society of Kenya president Isaac Okera condemned his remarks as “wholly inappropriate” and “ominous”. (see social media live feed page 2)
– Fate of election officials –
Meanwhile the fate of the electoral commission (IEBC) was shaping up as the next battle between Kenyatta and Odinga, heirs to a dynastic rivalry dating back to independence in 1963.
Maraga said the IEBC had failed to properly conduct the presidential election, and that there had been “irregularities and illegalities”.
Odinga demanded the discredited commission be replaced, and IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said there would be some “internal changes” but refused to resign.
The previous commission — tarnished by a corruption scandal and poor handling of 2013 polls — was forced to stand down in October after widespread protests. The new commission, named in January had only seven months to organise the polls.
Kenya is the 1st country in the world where 4 decided to overturn the will of 15m who woke up early, queued for hours and voted peacefully. pic.twitter.com/nVyM3xvukZ
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) September 2, 2017
Kenyatta dismissed the option of a change at the IEBC, stating “we don’t have time for any more reforms.”
He accused Odinga of seeking to derail the election “to join the government through the back door” by forcing a coalition government.
“Let IEBC do their job, let them declare the date (of a new election) and Raila let us meet at the ballot.”