Political News

The Latest: Carter Center defends Kenya vote observer work

Posted September 1

— The Latest on Kenya's presidential election court challenge (all times local):

7:40 p.m.

The Carter Center is defending its work as a Kenya election observer after the country's Supreme Court nullified last month's presidential election.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry led the center's observer mission.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says international observers "moved fast to sanitize fraud" in the election. The Supreme Court says the election commission committed "illegalities and irregularities."

The Carter Center says its Aug. 10 statement on the vote noted that "election day voting and counting processes had functioned smoothly but that the electronic transmission of results proved unreliable."

The center urges the court to release its detailed ruling, which must come out within 21 days.

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6:25 p.m.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says the Supreme Court decision to nullify the presidential election has put on trial international observers "who moved fast to sanitize fraud."

The hundreds of international observers included former Secretary of State John Kerry. They said they saw no interference in the vote.

But the Supreme Court on Friday said the election commission committed "illegalities and irregularities."

Odinga says the role of international observers must be examined because they put stability ahead of credibility.

He says the elections have exposed the rot in Kenya and calls for some of the election commission members to resign.

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6:05 p.m.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has told supporters that the Supreme Court chief justice and "his crooks" decided to take away his win.

Kenyatta spoke in Nairobi hours after the court nullified last month's election and called for a new vote within 60 days, citing irregularities.

Kenyatta says his status as "president-elect" had been taken away by (chief justice David) "Maraga and his crooks." He says the judges should know they are dealing with an incumbent president.

The president appears to have started campaigning for the new election, promising to transform the capital so that "people will think they are in London."

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4:05 p.m.

Kenya's electoral commission says it will change personnel and processes to prepare for a new presidential vote after the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati says he has invited the director of public prosecutions to prosecute any staffer found to have been involved in electoral malpractice.

The court said the electoral commission committed "illegalities and irregularities" in the Aug. 8 elections. The commission chairman is urging the court to quickly release its full ruling with the details. That ruling is expected within 21 days.

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3:30 p.m.

Kenya's president says he "personally disagrees" with the Supreme Court ruling that nullifies his election win last month, but he says he respects it.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta has lashed out at the judges, saying that "six people have decided they will go against the will of the people."

Kenyatta is addressing the nation after Friday morning's ruling that also called for a new election within 60 days. The court says the election commission "committed illegalities and irregularities" after opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged the vote.

The president is calling on Kenyans repeatedly to remain peaceful in a country where some elections have been followed by deadly violence.

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2:55 p.m.

The U.S. ambassador and other diplomats in Kenya say the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the presidential election "has demonstrated Kenya's resilient democracy and commitment to the rule of law."

The joint statement by two dozen heads of diplomatic missions includes Britain, the European Union, France and Germany.

The court said the election commission "committed illegalities and irregularities" and it called for new elections within 60 days.

The joint diplomatic statement says that "all electoral processes can be improved, and we will continue to support Kenya's institutions in this important work."

Diplomats already had congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta on his election win.

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1:50 p.m.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is calling for the election commission to be disbanded after the Supreme Court nullified last month's presidential election as unconstitutional.

Odinga had challenged the election win of President Uhuru Kenyatta, claiming that voting results were manipulated. The court said the election commission "committed illegalities and irregularities ... in the transmission of results" and will give details in its full ruling within 21 days.

Odinga says the opposition will ask that electoral officials be prosecuted and says he has lost faith in the current commission.

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12:45 p.m.

Supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga have exploded in celebration after the Supreme Court nullified last month's presidential election and called for a new vote within 60 days.

"Thank you, Jesus!" one woman shouted in the capital, Nairobi. "I'm telling, God is on our side."

Kenya had been braced for another round of protests by Odinga's supporters ahead of the court ruling Friday morning. The opposition had claimed the election results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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12:40 p.m.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is calling the Supreme Court's nullification of last month's presidential election "a very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of Africa."

The court says the election was not conducted in accordance with the constitution and has called for a new vote within 60 days. Odinga has claimed the results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had won a second term.

Odinga says the ruling sets a precedent for the African continent and he thanks the judges for acting "for posterity of Kenyans."

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12:20 p.m.

Lawyers for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta are calling the Supreme Court's nullification of last month's election a "very political decision" but they say they will live with the consequences.

Lead counsel Ahmednassir Abdulahi spoke to the court after the six-judge panel ruled 4-2 in favor of the petition filed by opposition candidate Raila Odinga. Odinga claimed that the electronic voting results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of Kenyatta.

The court has called for new elections within 60 days.

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12 p.m.

Kenya's Supreme Court has nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's election win last month and called for new elections within 60 days.

The six-judge bench ruled 4-2 in favor of the petition filed by opposition candidate Raila Odinga. He claimed that the electronic voting results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of Kenyatta. The president had won a second term with 54 percent of the vote.

The court says the Aug. 8 election was not conducted with accordance with the constitution.

Odinga's lawyer had asked the court to invalidate Kenyatta's win, saying a scrutiny of the forms used to tally the votes had anomalies that affected nearly 5 million votes.

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11:55 a.m.

Kenya's Supreme Court has overturned the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, citing irregularities in last month's election. The court has called for a new election within 60 days.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had claimed that the electronic voting results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of Kenyatta, who won a second term with 54 percent of the vote.

Kenyans had been braced for another round of protests if the court upholds Kenyatta's victory.

Odinga had unsuccessfully challenged the results of the 2013 vote.

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10:45 a.m.

Kenya's Supreme Court is expected to rule shortly on the opposition's challenge to last month's presidential election.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga claims that the electronic voting results were hacked into and manipulated in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won a second term.

Kenyans are braced for another round of protests if the court upholds Kenyatta's victory. Police are deployed in the capital. Human rights groups have said police killed at least 24 people in unrest that followed the Aug. 8 vote.

Kenya's electoral commission has said there was a hacking attempt but it failed. International election observers have said they saw no interference with the vote.

Unease around the election rose when the official who oversaw the electronic voting system was found tortured and killed days before the vote.

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