KENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta warned judges not to “interfere” with the electoral commission as the country gears up for a rerun of last month’s election.
The president raised hackles by vowing to “fix” the judicial system after the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that his re-election was not valid due to anomalies in the counting of votes.
Mr Kenyatta slammed the court as “crooks,” but says he intends to fight and win the rerun.
The president’s warning that the electoral commission must be left alone, despite the court’s ruling that it failed to conduct August’s vote properly, contrasts with the demand from opposition leader Raila Odinga that the commission be disbanded.
Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association secretary-general Brian Khaemba condemned the president’s “assault of decisional independence.”
“We will show you in 60 days that the will of the people cannot be overturned,” he declared.
But his bravado was dismissed by the country’s Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary-general Francis Atwoli, who told him to “sober up.”
Mr Atwoli said the president “appeared not to be sober” and warned his behaviour could cost him support. The trade unionist had criticised election observers days after the vote for giving it a clean bill of health.
“You don’t just visit one primary school where voting takes place and conclude that everything is right,” he warned.
“I have been an observer in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana and my experience is that one needs to do a lot of background checks before making the final conclusion. The observers did not do their work properly.”
International observers did not detect problems with the election, although the official responsible for overseeing electronic voting, Christopher Msando, was found murdered days beforehand.