Kenyan Court Calls For New Election
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We want to share some big news out of Kenya with you now. This morning the Supreme Court there threw out the results of last month's presidential election. President Uhuru Kenyatta had, according to the electoral commission, won the election by more than a million votes. A court now has found that there were so many irregularities that the whole thing has been nullified. President Kenyatta spoke to the nation this morning, and he called for peace but made it very clear he thinks the ruling is wrong.
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PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA: I personally disagree with the ruling that has been made today, but I respect it as much as I disagree with it.
MARTIN: For the latest on all this, we're joined now by NPR's East Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta. He is on the line from Nairobi. Eyder, this is huge news obviously, the nullification of the presidential election. Now you've got President Kenyatta urging peace. Is that because there is a fear of violence now? How are Kenyans reacting?
EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: I mean there is - there has already been some violence - right? - after the election results were announced. But today it is celebration. I don't know if you can hear some of it right now. I'm in Kibera, which is an opposition stronghold. You know, people are walking around with poms. And they're dancing and singing. And you know, they feel that they got justice today. In other parts of Kenya, we have seen some protests. But here in Kibera, it's celebration.
And also, Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, came out today, and he addressed media. And what he's - he called this a historic decision. You know, he said this was the first time that an election had been invalidated on the continent. And then he returned to a parable which he has used throughout the campaign where Moses leads his people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Let's listen to a bit of what he said.
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RAILA ODINGA: And we said at the beginning that our journey to Canaan was unstoppable. On the 8th of August, we crossed the river Jordan. We reached the city of Jericho. We are marching on the city of Jerusalem, and we shall get there.
MARTIN: Wow. So he's comparing himself to Moses. He believes that he is the rightful leader, apparently feeling vindicated by this court's decision. But can you just step back, Eyder, and remind us how we even got to this point?
PERALTA: Yeah. I think we have to remember that this is a big deal. You know, this is Raila Odinga's fourth run for president. And he had sort of put together this super coalition, that he called it. And President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner by a huge margin. Almost immediately, Raila Odinga said there was a huge conspiracy to steal the election from him. And some of it sounded like it was out of a Hollywood movie. Weeks before the election, for example, a top elections official was tortured and murdered. And Raila claimed that hackers used his credentials to mess with the results.
One thing that's worth noting is that by and large, international observers had said this process was free and fair. So I think what we saw was a lot of people sort of shaking their heads, thinking that what Raila was saying was fiction.
MARTIN: Well, has he been proven right now? I mean he was claiming that the results were flawed. Now a court is is saying, yeah, they were.
PERALTA: That's the big question. The court did not give a reason why it invalidated the results. It just said that it had found lots of irregularities that put the election into question. Now, whether it was hacked or whether this was intentional is a big question. But I think what we saw is as the case went through the court system, we got a peek at what was a really flawed system.
Just one example, for example - the court ordered the scrutiny of tallying forms. And what it found was that 20 percent of the tallying forms were missing a very important security feature. It was a watermark that you could see only using UV light. And 20 percent of them were missing that. So it brings up the question, where did those forms come from, and what happened to them?
MARTIN: Now Kenya has to pull off another presidential election in the next 60 days. NPR's Eyder Peralta joining us from the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, opposition leaders there celebrating the decision by the Supreme Court which has thrown out the results of last month's presidential elections. Thanks, Eyder.
PERALTA: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.