Kenya’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the participation of the main opposition coalition in petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in last month’s presidential election, in what may be the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote.
The ruling, on the first day of the court’s review of the petitions, is a setback for opposition leader Raila Odinga’s NASA coalition, which hopes to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Oct. 26 poll.
The court has until Nov. 20 to rule on the petitions, the latest chapter in a protracted political crisis that has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security.
If the election result is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Delivering rulings on preliminary issues, the court upheld an objection by Kenyatta’s lawyers to the participation of the NASA coalition.
“NASA cannot be sustained as a respondent in this matter,” Justice Jackton Ojwang said while reading a unanimous decision, promising to give the court’s reasons at a later date.
The two petitions by a former lawmaker and two human rights activists argue the poll’s outcome is void because the election board did not hold fresh nominations after an earlier, Aug. 8 poll was invalidated, among other reasons.