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Kenya Supreme Court could end presidential election crisis


Lawyers at the Supreme Court in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 14, 2017, ahead of a hearing on October 26's repeat presidential election.

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images

Lawyers at the Supreme Court in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 14, 2017, ahead of a hearing on October 26’s repeat presidential election.

Kenya’s Supreme Court has until Monday to decide whether it will uphold last month’s disputed presidential election result, a ruling that could put an end to the country’s political crisis.

The East African country has witnessed two presidential elections in less than three months, following its judiciary ruling that August’s disputed presidential vote be re-run. The second election, held October 26, saw incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta once again victorious with 98 percent of the vote – although less than 40 percent of Kenyan’s electorate showed up at the polls.

Earlier in November, former lawmaker Harun Mwau filed a petition to the Supreme Court to overturn October’s result on the premise that Kenya’s electoral commission did not conduct fresh nominations for the vote. Hearings began this week.

In the unrest that followed the second election result, the opposition National Super Alliance encouraged its supporters to boycott several key companies in the country.

Communications firm Safaricom, which operates popular payment platform M-Pesa, as well as products by Brookside Dairies and consumer goods company Bidco Kenya, are all being targeted due to their ties to the government.

Safaricom declined CNBC’s request for comment. Local press have reported M-Pesa’s national chairman as saying that the boycott could result in the loss of 1 million jobs.

But Jacques Nel, senior economist at NKC African Economics, told CNBC that the companies targeted “have or are close to having monopoly positions,” meaning that “Kenyans would really have to go out of their way to partake in the boycott.” “I think the impact on the economy won’t be that significant precisely because it would be very inconvenient and disrupt the daily lives of Kenyans,” he added.

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