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Kenya's Supreme Court just declared the Aug. 8 elections invalid. Here's what this means | By Ken Opalo - September 5, 2017

In a ruling that shocked the world, the Kenyan Supreme Court on Friday annulled the Aug. 8 reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ordered a fresh election — which will be held on Oct. 17.

Four of the six justices found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with law, and that it committed “irregularities and illegalities.”

On Aug. 11, Kenyatta was declared the winner with 54 percent of the vote against opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s 44 percent. International poll observers had endorsed the outcome, which appeared to be corroborated by a parallel vote tabulation.

Odinga went to court alleging that the IEBC’s computer systems had been hacked to favor Kenyatta. His lawyers alleged widespread discrepancies between official forms recording results from 40,000 tallying centers and the aggregated electronic results announced by IEBC. Odinga also alleged that Chris Msando, a senior IT expert at IEBC, was tortured and murdered 10 days before the election precisely to enable the tampering.

The court’s decision affirms the continued consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in Kenya — and undoubtedly will have a strong demonstration effect in the wider region. It also raises interesting questions about judicial independence and the role of courts in democratic consolidation.

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