Supreme Court judges no-show means Kenyan elections to go on

Kenya's Chief Justice David Maraga when he appeared at the Supreme Court alone
Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga when he appeared at the Supreme Court alone

The Kenyan Supreme Court on Wednesday said it could not hear a case seeking to delay the country’s presidential election, because it lacked the required judges to make a quorum.

The court requires at least five sitting judges for any hearing and decision making, but only one of the seven – Chief Justice David Maraga – showed up for the crucial case.

In a brief speech, Maraga said one judge was unwell, another was abroad and unable to return in time, and another judge was unable to come to court after her bodyguard was shot and injured on Tuesday night.

Only the Supreme Court has the authority to delay Thursday’s poll.

Preparations for the polls have been overshadowed by administrative confusion and fears of possible violence.

The country has been engulfed by political uncertainty since the September 1 nullification of the presidential election, and subsequent withdrawal of Raila Odinga from the repeat poll.

Odinga said he would not participate in the next vote if there were no reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The ruling Jubilee Party has however dismissed Odinga’s claims, and is adamane the vote should continue as planned with or without his name on the ballot.

Following the no-show by the Supreme Court judges, IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati said the elections would go on as planned, and that polls would open at 6:00AM local time.

Protests then erupted in the western city of Kisumu, Odinga’s stronghold, as the residents demanded the elections be cancelled.

The veteran politician is expected to make an announcement later todayin the capital, Nairobi.

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