By The Independent Team
The Kenyan Supreme Court on Saturday upheld Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential election, dismissing a challenge by his chief rival Raila.
The nation’s highest court declared the election “free and fair,” ending weeks of uncertainty after the disputed March 4 poll.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga announced the decision, which was unanimous, saying the poll was free and fair.
Mr Kenyatta vowed to serve all Kenyans, while his main challenger Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who lodged the appeal, pledged to respect the verdict.
After the court issued its ruling, he said he accepted its judgment and would abide by it.
“The court has now spoken,” Odinga said, “I wish the president-elect and his team well.”
Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya’s founding leader, won the election with 50.07% of the vote.
Raila Odinga, who got 43.31%, had challenged the outcome in court on the grounds that it was flawed and marred by technical problems.
Supporters of Mr Kenyatta took to the streets of central Nairobi after the verdict, tooting their horns, blowing on vuvuzelas and chanting.
The president-elect made a televised victory speech hours after the announcement, vowing to work with and serve all Kenyans “without any discrimination whatsoever”.
Mr Odinga responded to the verdict with a speech expressing “dismay” at the conduct of the election but saying he fully respected the court’s decision.
Petitions had been filed to the court by the prime minister and by civil society groups, who claimed irregularities had affected the election result and called for fresh elections. However, much of their evidence was dismissed by the court.
The upholding of Kenyatta’s victory raises the prospect of complicated diplomatic ties with the West.
The International Criminal Court has indicted him for allegedly funding a local militia that conducted reprisal attacks in the last election in 2007. His running mate, William Ruto, also faces ICC charges at The Hague, in the Netherlands.
Both have denied the charges and have said they will cooperate with the court to clear their names.