(AP) Kenya's Supreme Court on Saturday upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country's next president, ending an election season that riveted the nation amid fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 postelection violence.
Saturday's verdict following a drawn-out court case that raised tensions across the nation means that Kenyatta will be sworn in as president early next month. He will become the second sitting president in Africa to face charges at the International Criminal Court. Kenyatta and Deputy President-elect William Ruto both face charges that they helped orchestrate the 2007-08 postelection violence in which more than 1,000 people died. Both deny the charges. Ruto's trial is set to begin in late May; Kenyatta's is to start in July. Kenyatta has promised to report to The Hague.
Lawyers for challenger Raila Odinga had argued before the Supreme Court that the election was marred by irregularities and that Kenyatta did not win enough votes to avoid a runoff election.
According to official results, Kenyatta won 50.07 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff election against Odinga, who said his case before the Supreme Court would put Kenya's democracy on trial.
But the Supreme Court's unanimous verdict, read out by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, said the election was "conducted in compliance with the constitution and the law" and that Kenyatta was "validly elected."
The reasons behind the judges' decision were not given Saturday. Odinga said he would respect the court's decision whether it favored him or not.