November 20, 2017 / 7:15 AM / 7 months ago

Kenyan capital on edge as Supreme Court ruling looms

NAIROBI (Reuters) - After days of violence and riots in Nairobi, Kenya’s Supreme Court is to rule Monday on cases seeking to void the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in last month’s repeat vote.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition arrives to the scene of clashes between anti-riot police and NASA supporters in the Baba Dogo neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The ruling due at 0700 GMT could clear the way for Kenyatta’s swearing-in on Nov.28 or lead to a fresh vote, but it is unlikely to end the worst political crisis in East Africa’s richest and most developed economy in a decade.

Police said on Sunday at least four people were killed overnight in a Nairobi slum that is a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

He accused the government of being behind the killings, which followed at least five deaths on Friday as police tried to disperse opposition supporters.

In several areas of the capital, riots broke out on Sunday in response to the deaths, as residents lit cars and buses on fire and police responded with tear gas.

The court, created by a 2010 constitution that followed a violent political crisis three years earlier, made history on the continent when it nullified Kenyatta’s win in August elections. Citing irregularities, it ordered a fresh poll.

Odinga boycotted the repeat election on Oct. 26, saying it would be unfair because the election commission had failed to implement reforms. Kenyatta won with 98 percent of the vote, though opposition supporters staged a boycott and prevented polls from opening in the west of the country.

In last week’s court proceedings, lawyers for both sides — those challenging the poll and those defending it — argued that the country was on the brink and will “plunge into the abyss” depending on the court’s ruling.

Writing By Maggie Fick; Editing by Michael Perry

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