Kenyans urged to stay calm over vote ruling

Kenya’s outgoing president called for his nation to stay calm when a court rules today on a legal challenge over the presidential election result, seeking to avoid a repeat of the tribal bloodbath that followed a disputed vote five years ago.

Kenya’s outgoing president called for his nation to stay calm when a court rules today on a legal challenge over the presidential election result, seeking to avoid a repeat of the tribal bloodbath that followed a disputed vote five years ago.

Voting on March 4 after which Uhuru Kenyatta was declared victor has gone a long way to restoring Kenya’s image as one of Africa’s more stable democracies. And this time round, a row over the result has played out in court not the street.

But the final test comes when Kenyans hear from the Supreme Court whether it upholds Kenyatta’s win or orders a new vote that would give another chance to defeated Raila Odinga, who disputed the result declared on March 9 after a five-day count.

Kenyatta, was well ahead of Odinga in total votes but had only just enough to exceed the 50 percent threshold to avoid a run-off.

“As the country awaits the Supreme Court ruling which is due this Easter weekend, I call upon all of us to accept the ruling and maintain peace,” President Mwai Kibaki said in a message to mark the Christian holiday.

“Kenyans should resume their routine economic activities as soon as possible to return normalcy in the country,” he said.

East Africa’s biggest economy was hammered when the December 2007 vote was followed by weeks of ethnic rioting that killed more than 1,200 people, scaring away investors and tourists. Growth has not yet recovered to levels before the 2007 vote.

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