Kenyan police seal off Supreme Court ahead of vote delay hearing

Kenya on map
Kenya on map

Kenyan police sealed off the Supreme Court building in the capital on Wednesday as judges prepared to hear a petition to delay the repeat presidential polls.

NAN reports that those who filed the petition are Khelef Khalifa, Executive Director of Muslims for Human Rights; Samwel Mohochi, Executive Director of the International Commission of Jurists; and Nahason Kamau.

They said that the credibility of the vote is not assured, citing political interference among other concerns.

Streets around the court in downtown Nairobi were blocked by police barriers and officers in anti-riot gear.

The court, created by a 2010 constitution that followed a violent political crisis three years earlier, is due to hear several cases challenging the legality of Thursday’s election, which is being boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won the August election before it was annulled due to procedural irregularities, has made clear he wants the vote to go ahead although some in his party fear Mr. Odinga’s boycott will undermine the credibility of any victory.

One petition, brought by prominent human rights activist, Khelef Khalifa, is calling for a delay in the vote on grounds that the election board is not sufficiently prepared.

Around 1,200 people were killed in ethnic clashes after the disputed election in 2007.

Since the August vote, nearly 50 people have been killed in political unrest, almost all of them at the hands of the police.

Tensions have been mounting in the East African country ahead of the poll rerun, with almost daily mass protests and foreign diplomats warning a fair election cannot be guaranteed.

On August 18, a senior official in the country’s electoral commission fled to the U.S. saying she had received death threats.


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