Despite Broad Acceptance of Ruling, John Kerry Declares Kenya’s Election Wasn’t Rigged

He conceded "little aberrations here and there"

Former Secretary of State John Kerry / Getty Images


The two parties competing for the Kenyan presidency agreed on Friday to hold new elections within 60 days after the country's top court nullified the election of the sitting president over concerns of meddling, a first in African history.

Despite broad acceptance of the supreme court's ruling, international election observers, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, said they saw no interference with the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Kerry previously said he was confident in the integrity of the election. Though he conceded "little aberrations here and there," he said the election was not rigged.

Kenya's Supreme Court found no misconduct on the part of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta or his party, and instead said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which was in charge of the vote, "committed irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results," among other issues.

David Maraga, the court's chief justice, declared the outcome "invalid, null, and void" after international election observers "failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the Constitution."

Kenyatta said he respected the ruling and called on Kenyans to respond to the decision peacefully, but he also criticized the judges, saying "six people have decided that they will go against the will of the people."

Kenyatta's main challenger, Raila Odinga, hailed the decision as a "precedent-setting ruling." Odinga and his supporters argued the Aug. 8 election was hacked to guarantee victory for Kenyatta, who had won a second term with 54 percent of the vote, raking in about 1.4 million more votes than his challenger.

The opposition had complained of several election irregularities, including a discrepancy between the electronic results and manual count, and charged that up to seven million votes had been stolen. Apprehension around the election spiked when an election official in charge of overseeing the electronic voting system was found tortured and killed less than a week before the vote.

Even before the election results were announced, Odinga said he refused to accept the outcome given the potential for manipulation of the paper forms. Odinga was met by pushback from Kerry, who moved to reassure Kenyan voters the election was credible.

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

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