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President Uhuru Kenyatta accepts court ruling ready to seek votes | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Security presence on Nairobi streets appeared restrained and unobtrusive as supporters of the opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga celebrated outside the Supreme Court 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 -JOHN OKOYO and LI BAISHUN

President Uhuru Kenyatta accepts court ruling ready to seek votes

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta, whose re-election was nullified by Supreme Court on Friday, has accepted the judges verdict, saying that he was ready for the fresh elections.

Kenyatta told a news conference in Nairobi that even though he disagrees with the apex court’s ruling to nullify the presidential elections which was conducted on Aug. 8, he respects it.

"I personally disagree with the ruling that has been made today but I respect it as much as I disagree with it ... Six people have decided that they will go against the ruling of Kenyans," Kenyatta told a televised news conference in Nairobi.

"Five or six people cannot decide the fate of 45 million people. Kenyans will decide because this is the nature of democracy," Kenyatta added.

In its ruling earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court said the electoral body committed "irregularities and illegalities" during last month’s vote, affecting the integrity of the election and ordered another presidential election to be held within 60 days.

"A decision is hereby issued that the elections held on Aug. 8, were not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law. The results are therefore invalid, null and void," Chief justice David Maraga said.

"Elections is not an event but an process. After considering the totality of the entire evidence, we are satisfied that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the dictates of the Constitution and the applicable principles," he added.

President Kenyatta who garnered 8.22 million votes against opposition leader’s 6.8 million votes said his win was as a result of "the will of the people".

"It is important to respect the rule of law. We believe in the rule of law. We are ready to go back again to the people with the same agenda," he said.

He called on Kenyans to maintain peace and vowed to beat his arch-rival Raila Odinga and his National Super Alliance (NASA) at the ballot in the repeat exercise.

"Your neighbour will always remain your neighbour regardless. Let us not be tribal, let us not be divided. Let us sell our policies so that Kenyans can decide," Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader said the judgment must not be misconstrued to mean that the government is at war with the Opposition.

"We ask every Kenyan wherever they may be to maintain peace. We are not at war with our brothers and sisters in the opposition," he said, noting that he is ready to go back to the people and sell his agenda for re-election within the 60 days set by court.

Odinga’s lawyer had asked the court to invalidate Kenyatta’s win, saying a scrutiny of the forms used to tally the votes had anomalies that affected nearly 5 million votes.

The opposition leader claims the election was rigged in favor of Kenyatta through the hacking and manipulation of the electronic vote-counting system. He provided proof of rigging in court.

The move to the judiciary is likely to relieve Kenyans who feared a repeat of the violence that followed a 2007 vote when Odinga called for protests. Around 1,200 people died in the unrest.

Odinga also contested - and officially lost - an election in 2013, but quelled potential violence by taking his case to court.

Judges eventually ruled that much of his evidence was being submitted outside time limits set by the court, frustrating his supporters and sparking suspicion over the judiciary’s independence.

This is the fourth time 72-year-old Odinga has lost an election, often citing irregularities.

However, the Friday ruling is the first time a court has supported his claim.

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