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Opposition supporters celebrate nullification of presidential poll | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Supporters of the opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga celebrate after Supreme Court declared the Aug. 8 presidential election null and void, in Nairobi. Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday declared the Aug. 8 presidential election null and void and ordered a repeat of similar exercise within 60 days. Chief Justice and President of Supreme Court David Maraga said the election where the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner had gross irregularities which affected the integrity of elections. XINHUA PHOTOS - LI BAISHUN

Opposition supporters celebrate nullification of presidential poll

by Christine Lagat and Robert Manyara NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- There was jubilation in opposition strongholds on Friday after Kenya’s Supreme Court cancelled the results of Aug. 8 presidential elections citing massive irregularities.

Thousands of opposition supporters who gathered outside the Supreme Court broke into song and dance when the Chief Justice of Kenya’s apex court annulled the outcome of presidential polls where the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner.

Waving banners and placards, opposition supporters described the ruling as a precedent setter in Africa where nullification of presidential results is rare.

The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, had filed a petition at the Supreme Court, challenging Kenyatta’s victory.

Odinga cited gross tampering of the entire voting exercise and refused to concede defeat when the electoral body declared Kenyatta the winner of hotly contested polls.

His supporters in Nairobi, Western Kenya and the Coast region hailed the cancellation of presidential election results, saying it confirmed their fears that their candidate was denied presidency through manipulation of vote tallying and transmission.

Major streets in Nairobi were turned into a carnival as jubilant supporters sang and danced victory tune in a largely peaceful manner.

Residents of the densely populated Nairobi slums of Kibera and Mathare came out in large numbers to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling as police kept a vigil to prevent breakdown of law and order.

Peter Oduor, a resident of Mathare told television reporters that he was elated to learn that Supreme Court judges had annulled the presidential election results that were disputed by the opposition.

"The ruling is a victory for Kenyans who turned up in large numbers to vote but felt realization of their dreams was aborted mid-way.

"We need to promote transparency in our electoral process," said Oduor.

Meanwhile, supporters of the ruling Jubilee Party that clinched presidency during the just concluded elections expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling.

Charles Mburu, a civic leader in Naivasha town located 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, said he was not satisfied with the ruling.

"We are shocked and somehow disappointed by the court ruling but we will maintain peace and order since we are law-abiding citizens," said Mburu.

His sentiments were echoed by Jane Muthoni, a vegetable vendor who said that a lengthy electioneering process bode ill for economic growth in the country.

"Those of us in business, we are not happy with the decision by the Supreme Court to cancel presidential election results. Nevertheless, we are determined to move on and uphold peace," Muthoni.



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