VERNON MWaanga says the historic judgment of the Kenya Supreme Court nullifying the presidential election results of last month is a major milestone for Kenya and Africa.
In a statement today, Mwaanga stated the court decision underlined the need for those with election grievances to resort to the court process and not the streets, to adduce evidence and seek redress in accordance with the demands of the Constitution.
“The Supreme Court upon receiving evidence found that there were electoral malpractices and irregularities committed by officials of the Kenyan Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which were not in accordance with the laws of Kenya and which rendered the election null and void and ordered fresh elections within sixty days. Bravo Kenya, you have made our continent proud,”
“There are many people, including myself, who did not think, let alone believe that this was possible given Africa’s history of a tame and corrupt judiciary, given the standard judgments which have been delivered elsewhere by African courts. Kenya has raised the bar of judicial independence and electoral democracy, which hope will be embraced and emulated elsewhere in Africa. We are sick and tired of disputed elections in Africa which have more often than not, led to violence and even deaths.”
He stated that it was important that African countries accept and respect constitutionalism, electoral democracy and the rule of law.
Mwaanga recalled that in 2007, Kenya experienced a disputed election which led to the deaths of more than a thousand people and led to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice-President William Ruto being indicted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague for crimes against humanity.
He stated that Kenyans learnt bitter lessons from that dark chapter in its history.
“They regrouped, put their country first and came up with a new genuinely people driven constitution. The governing party and the opposition went into an inclusive government of national unity to allow time for wounds, hearts and minds to heal. The new constitution created seats for women, provincial assemblies, a senate, governorships, in addition to the National Assembly. It will therefore not be surprising if some elections at this level, will equally be contested in courts of law and perhaps even nullified. This is as it should be,” Mwaanga stated.
“Credit must be given to Kenyan political leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, for the manner in which they conducted themselves during and after the results were announced. President Kenyatta advised his brother Raila, who had disputed the election outcome to resort to the court process, which is provided for in the Constitution of Kenya. This is indeed what Odinga did and he adduced sufficient evidence of election malpractices, which convinced the Supreme Court to nullify the election and order a fresh President election. This is a mature, civilised and commendable way of resolving what could have been a potentially dangerous situation, which might have led to undesirable violence with all its ugly consequences.”
He stated that the opposition jubilantly celebrated the Supreme Court verdict and President Kenyatta while disagreeing with the Supreme Court decision, declared that he would respect the decision.
“The Electoral Commission also accepted the decision and announced that it would make staff changes to the commission in an effort to address the irregularities, which the court had observed and pointed out. This is truly commendable and it is my hope that other African countries, will learn useful lessons from the responsible and calm manner in which Kenyan political leaders and the Electoral Commission handled delicate matter,”
stated Mwaanga, adding that ethnic as Kenya’s voting patterns may be, the Supreme Court verdict cast grave doubts about the international observation mechanism, which was quick to declare the elections as free and fair.
“It does not matter who will win the forthcoming run off elections in Kenya. What is important is for them to be strictly held in accordance with the laws of Kenya and within the ambit of the Kenyan Constitution. This, for me, is what is critically important, so that our troubled continent can eliminate the scourge of stolen, rigged or corrupt elections, which are not held in accordance with the law. Africa and Africans deserve better. It should never be about taking power at all costs, it should be about power which is constitutionally earned and which genuinely reflects the free choice of the people.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court led by Chief Justice David Maraga, who can only serve one term due to the 70-age limit, nullified the August presidential vote.
Maraga, a staunch Seventh Day Adventist, is Kenya’s 14th Chief Justice, appointed last year is said to never compromise his religion for work.
Maraga and four other judges nullified the re-election of Kenyata citing irregularities and illegalities by the electoral body.
Two other judges said were against the annulment of election.
While rallying for support in March this year, President Kenyatta told residents of Nyamira county to give him another term in office because he had appointed ‘their’ son as Chief Justice.
But a furious Maraga responded, telling off Kenyatta that he was not his project and that the position of Chief Justice was not a political appointment.