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Kenya awaits crunch supreme court ruling on disputed election


BLOOMBERG|NAIROBI: Kenya’s Supreme Court will deliver judgment Monday in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the results of last month’s presidential election and has left the East African nation in political limbo.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who failed to secure the presidency on his fifth attempt, along with six other parties, petitioned the court to nullify William Ruto’s win, alleging there were massive irregularities that compromised the fairness of the Aug. 9 vote. The official results showed Ruto secured 50.5% support and Odinga 48.8%.

While Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, defended the integrity of the election, four of the body’s other six members distanced themselves from his pronouncement, citing a lack of transparency over the count. A group of 5,000 local observers said the results were in line with its own parallel tallies.

Several previous election disputes in Kenya have degenerated into violence, the worst of which occurred in 2017 and claimed the lives of at least 1,100 people. Although the current electoral process has been largely peaceful, investors are watching closely for any potential unrest.

The court’s ruling can’t be appealed. Should it nullify the vote, as it did in 2017, fresh elections must be held within 60 days. If Ruto’s win is upheld, then he will be sworn in on Sept 13.