Johannesburg – Kenya’s veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for members of Kenya’s electoral commission to be jailed after the country’s Supreme Court ruled earlier on Friday that last month’s elections be annulled on the basis they were not conducted according to the Constitution and Elections Act.
“They have committed criminal acts. Most of them actually belong in jail and therefore we are going to ask prosecution for all the electoral commission officials who have committed this monstrous crime against the people of Kenya,” Odinga said.
Earlier, the opposition candidate praised Friday’s decision by the country’s Supreme Court to annul last month’s presidential elections which saw incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta win a second term in office.
As his supporters took to the streets throughout the country to celebrate the court’s decision, Kenya made history as the first country in Africa to annul a presidential election.
“The annulment is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension, the people of the continent of Africa," Odinga said. "For the first time in the history of African democratisation, a ruling has been made by a court nullifying the election of a president. This is a precedent-setting ruling.
“This is a triumph for the people of Kenya.”
Announcing the verdict of four out of the six judges in his Friday morning ruling, Judge David Maraga said that “the declaration of Kenyatta's win was invalid, null and void”.
“The election commission failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution,” added Maraga.
The court further ordered Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct fresh polls within 60 days.
According to official figures released by the IEBC on August 11, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta secured 54.27 percent of the ballots cast, while his rival, Raila Odinga, won 44.74 percent, in the August 8 polls.
With Kenyatta receiving more than 50 percent of the votes, the contest was not forced into a second round of voting.
However, violence broke out as opposition activists cried foul in days of unrest which claimed the lives of at least 28 people.
Shortly after the election results were announced, Odinga, claimed that the electoral commission's IT system had been hacked to manipulate the results, and took his complaints of fraud to seven Supreme Court judges amid fears among Kenyans that renewed violence would break out if he lost his attempt to overturn the election results.
It is the third time in a row that Odinga has cried foul, after claiming he was cheated out of rightful victories in 2007 and 2013.
The disputed 2007 election led to politically-motivated ethnic violence in which over 1,100 people were killed. In 2013, Odinga also took his grievances to court and lost.