The Latest: Supreme Court judge’s driver shot before hearing
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Latest on Kenya’s upcoming re-run of presidential elections on Oct. 26 (all times local):
Nairobi’s police chief Japheth Koome says the police driver of the Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has been shot and seriously wounded, the evening before the Supreme Court is hearing an application to postpone Thursday’s elections.
Joseph Njoroge, who works at a roadside flower stand where Titus Musyoka was shot, said the police officer in uniform had come to buy flowers when he was assaulted by two men who arrived on a motorbike.
Njoroge said the two men, one armed with a pistol, tried to force Muysoka back into his official vehicle and but he resisted and reached for his gun. Njoroge said one person shouted “finish him” and they shot him in the mouth and twice in the chest before fleeing with the officer’s gun. Many Kenyans on social media saw the shooting as intimidation of the Supreme Court before it hears the crucial case on Wednesday.
Chief Justice David Maraga said in September attempts to intimidate Kenya’s Supreme Court judges after they nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election have been “unlawful and savage in nature.” The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s August win over illegalities and irregularities and ordered for a fresh election scheduled Thursday.
Kenya’s Supreme Court is to meet a day before Thursday’s repeat presidential elections to decide whether the polls should go ahead if a credible vote cannot be guaranteed.
The court will hear a case brought by three Kenyans who are urging that the elections be postponed until the electoral commission can hold free and fair elections, as is mandated by the constitution.
Human rights activist Khelef Khalifa, one of the petitioners, said Tuesday that the Supreme Court judgment nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election stated that the fresh election must be credible and verifiable. Khalifa said the chairman of the electoral commission has stated he cannot guarantee a credible election. Khalifa said Kenya is on the brink social breakdown as government crackdowns on opposition protests have killed 67 people and if the election on Thursday is not credible an even bigger crisis could result. Khalifa said the three want elections postponed until the electoral commission can deliver a credible vote.
Kenyan police have fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse small groups of opposition protesters ahead of a presidential election on Thursday that opposition leader Raila Odinga plans to boycott.
The sporadic confrontations in downtown Nairobi on Tuesday occurred amid bustling traffic and forced some city workers and passers-by to race away from the acrid clouds of tear gas.
A police officer told The Associated Press that he and his colleagues were firing blanks.
Human rights activists have said police fatally shot 67 people since the Aug. 8 election whose annulment by the Supreme Court opened the way to the new vote.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was declared the winner in the August vote, wants to press ahead with the election despite concerns about its credibility.
AP journalists Tom Odula and Christopher Torchia in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.