Nairobi – Kenya’s Supreme Court said Wednesday it could not hear a last-minute petition to postpone Thursday’s presidential election because it didn’t have a quorum of judges, while the shooting of one judge’s driver hours before the hearing raised fears about intimidation.
Chief Justice David Maraga (pictured) appeared alone in the courtroom and said only he and one other judge had been able to attend the hearing.
The announcement appeared to clear the way for Thursday’s fresh presidential elections to proceed. Outside the court, hundreds of women in white scarves gathered to call for peace as tensions have risen about possible violence.
The Supreme Court was to hear a petition filed by three Kenyans, including a human rights activist, who urged the court to postpone Thursday’s election, arguing that electoral officials have said they cannot ensure the polls will be free, fair and credible.
The evening before Wednesday’s hearing, the driver of the court’s deputy chief justice was shot in what many saw as intimidation of the judiciary.
The court shocked Kenya last month when it nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election, citing irregularities and illegalities and the electoral commission’s unwillingness to let court-appointed technicians scrutinise its computer system. Opposition leader Raila Odinga had challenged Kenyatta’s victory, claiming hackers had infiltrated the computer servers and manipulated the vote.
Odinga has said he will boycott the new election because the electoral commission has not been reformed. Kenyatta has insisted the Thursday vote will continue.