East Africa

What next for Kenya after cancelled presidential election?

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Image shows supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga celebrating in the streetImage copyright
AFP

Image caption

The Supreme Court’s decision sparked celebrations by supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga

The decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya to annul the results of the presidential election and demand a new poll within 60 days is both good and bad for the country.

It shows the independence of the judiciary, and its willingness to take controversial and unprecedented action despite a perilously short time-frame.

But it also leaves Kenya in the same nervous limbo it suffered in the days following the election, when people anxiously waited for the results and what the losers’ reaction to defeat would be.

The country was paralysed because it has been down the road of contested elections before, and 10 years ago it ended in bloodshed.

Opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga addressed crowds of supporters in his Nairobi heartland of Mathare two days after the results placed him 1.4m votes behind.

He seemed determined to keep fighting with whatever means necessary in his fourth, and what many believe will be his last, bid for the presidency.

It was the language of street protest.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Crowds of supporters listen to Raila Odinga in his Nairobi heartland of Mathare two days after the results

And so, there was a collective sigh of relief when the mass stay-at-home he called for was barely observed.

By then making a U-turn and taking the legal route – as he did unsuccessfully in 2013 – it reassured people that

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