Kenya president slams annulled poll as judicial 'coup'

NAIROBI: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday that a Supreme Court ruling annulling his recent election victory was a "coup" that stole democracy from the people.

In an angry televised address, Kenyatta railed against "a coup in Kenya carried out by four people in the court."

Speaking mostly in Swahili, the president said the Supreme Court, which issued its full judgement on Wednesday, had undermined democracy by arguing that "numbers don't matter, it is processes that matter."

"The judgement of a few people has reversed all the gains we have made over the years," he said, comparing the ruling to military coups that have overthrown governments elsewhere in Africa.

The Supreme Court on Sept 1 declared Kenya's Aug 8 presidential election "invalid, null and void" after hearing a legal challenge filed by the opposition, led by Raila Odinga.

On Wednesday judges issued their full, detailed ruling, faulting the election commission for running a poll that was "neither transparent nor verifiable".

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has set Oct 17 for a fresh election between Kenyatta and Odinga but there are growing doubts over whether the poll can be held on time.

Since the judges annulled the presidential election Kenyatta and his supporters have launched a series of verbal attacks on the judiciary, with Kenyatta calling the judges "crooks" and threatening to "fix" the courts.

Before Kenyatta took to the podium Thursday his deputy William Ruto described the Supreme Court ruling as "tyranny of the judiciary which ... has no place in Kenya."

Despite the combative rhetoric, Kenyatta has said he will contest the election re-run. — AFP