In late September, Kenya’s High Court postponed the August 8 presidential election between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition candidate Raila Odinga to October 26, after it had already scheduled the re-run to take place on October 17, BBC reports. As previously reported by the Caravel, Odinga immediately protested the August 8 results, asserting that the election system had been hacked. Later, the Court ruled that the initial election was “invalid, null, and void.” On October 24, Odinga announced his withdrawal from the October 26 election re-run, introducing yet another surprising turn.
President Kenyatta won the October 26 election re-run, with 98 percent of 7.4 million votes. This re-run marked a departure from the initial election: many have been quick to point out the low turnout, which pales in comparison to the 80 percent of 19.6 million voters who voted on August 8. These statistics were heavily scrutinized after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stated that 7.5 million Kenyans had voted on October 29 and concluded that 42.8 percent cast ballots as opposed to 38.4 percent, according to a Quartz report.
After his win, Kenyatta stated, “My victory today is likely to be subjected to a constitutional test through the courts. And as I have demonstrated repeatedly, I will submit to this constitutional path no matter its outcomes.” His opponent, on the other hand, called these results “a sham.”
One contributing factor to this disparate turnout may have been the suspension of the vote in several constituencies which generally supported the opposition. According to an allAfrica report, there were 25 constituencies in which the vote was suspended; the IEBC reasoned that this suspension complied with Section 55B of the 2016 Elections Amendment Act, which allows a winner to be declared even if some results are missing, as long as it is satisfied that the overall outcome will not be affected.
After the election, a new law was implemented, which limits the power of the Court to reject election results that do not conform to election laws, so long as this “did not substantially affect the result of the election,” BBC reports.
On November 6, Harun Mwau petitioned for another annulment of the October 26 re-run. According to German news site Deutsche Welle, his petition says that the IEBC should have “conducted fresh nominations ahead of the vote after a first presidential election in August was annulled.”
Recently, Raila Odinga has urged for the creation of a six-month interim government, much to the dismay of the Jubilee Party, which has since argued that Odinga is “stoking a crisis to get into power,” according to a Standard Media report. In a public statement, Odinga said, “we need an interim arrangement of governance involving representatives of both parties and six months will be required to carry out all these changes that we need in our country in order to have a proper, free and fair election.”