Kenya court upholds Kenyatta election win


Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta casts his vote at the Mutomo primary school in Kiambu on March 4, 2013.


Simon Maina

Kenya's Supreme Court has upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's presidential election win after the results were challenged by candidate Raila Odinga, the Kenyan prime minister.

"It is the decision of the court that the third and fourth respondents were validly elected," Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said in court, referring to Kenyatta and his running mate and deputy president William Ruto.

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"The March 4, 2013 was conducted in a free, fair and credible manner in compliance with the constitution and all relevant provisions of the law," he added.

Mutunga said that the decision was unanimous. Security was tight at the Supreme Court while the judgment was read out, as a disputed election in 2007 broke out in violence and left more than 1200 people dead. Kenya's outgoing president had called for calm ahead of the decision.

Official results said Kenyatta beat Odinga 50.07 percent to 43.28 percent. Kenyatta and Ruto will be sworn in as president and vice-president early next month.

Odinga told reporters after the ruling that he accepted the court's decision, the Associated Press reported.

"Although we may not agree with some of [the court's] findings, our belief in constitutionalism remains supreme," he said at a news conference, according to BBC News. "We must soldier on in our resolve to reform our politics and our institutions."

Odinga added that, because the court had blocked his legal team from presenting some evidence in the case, “in the end, Kenyans lost the right to know what happened” during the vote counting.

British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Kenyatta for his victory in a letter, and "urged the Kenyan people to be proud of the strong signal they have sent to the world about their determination to exercise their democratic right peacefully," a Downing Street spokesman said

Cameron also said he supported Kenyatta's pledge that his new administration would "work with all Kenyans in a spirit of inclusivity and reconciliation," while also adhering to "international legal obligations."

Kenyatta and Ruto will become the second president in Africa to face charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for orchestrating the unrest after the 2007 election. Both deny the charges.

Ruto's trial is to start in late May and Kenyatta's in July.