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Kenya's Supreme Court Affirms Re-Election Of Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga presides during the judgement of election-related petitions in Nairobi on Monday.
Sayyid Abdul Azim
Kenyan Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga presides during the judgement of election-related petitions in Nairobi on Monday.

Updated at 6:18 a.m. ET

Kenya's Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, dismissing two petitions that challenged last month's re-run of nationwide polling – a move likely to spark more violence in the east African country.

NPR's Eyder Peralta reports from Nairobi that the six judges of the high court agreed unanimously that the petitions have no merit. That means Kenyatta will be sworn in for another term on Nov. 28.

Eyder tells Morning Edition that opposition leader Raila Odinga "has said that no matter what the courts [have] said, he would not accept the results [of the election] and does not accept Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimate president."

The two petitions had argued that the results of the election "should be voided because the election board did not seek fresh nominations after the earlier Aug. 8 poll was invalidated, and because the vote was not held in each of Kenya's 291 voter constituencies," according to Reuters.

"This is a huge blow to the opposition [led by Raila Odinga] and it will have significant consequences on the streets. Already, across the slums stores are closing," Eyder says.

The unanimous decision in favor of Kenyatta, who was deputy prime minister before becoming president in 2013, comes less than three months after the same court ruled that the Aug. 8 vote was unconstitutional, precipitating the second poll on Oct. 26. That election was boycotted by Odinga's party and sparked widespread protest.

The ruling is unlikely to end the violence that has erupted between supporters of Kenyatta and those favoring Odinga.

As Eyder reported on Sunday, dozens of people have been killed in recent days in political and tribal clashes. "The violence started Friday when Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, returned to the country. And very early this morning, people were shot to death in opposition strongholds," he says.

"Police have responded with tear gas and gunfire. And a member of parliament from the opposition party was shot in the leg during one of these confrontations," Eyder says.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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