The Oasis Reporters
September 1, 2017
When Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga announced he would be seeking legal redress for what he termed “a sham of an election”three days after after Uhuru Kenyatta’s call for unity as Kenyans are one people, the new term that has crawled into the country’s lexicon came from Nigeria.
It is called ‘Rerun’.
The Kenyan Supreme Court has expressed dissatisfaction with the election that produced Uhuru Kenyatta as president and agreed with Raila Odinga that it was a sham. Therefore, the election commission would have to prepare another one, all within three months.
The Chief Justice David Maraga, his Deputy Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, Lady Justice Njoki Ndung’u, and justices Smokin Wanjala, Mohamed Khadhar Ibrahim, Jackton Boma Ojwang and Isaac Lenaola sat on Odinga’s petition which sought an audit of the electoral process.
“This is a good thing. To build resilience against election-related disputes, Kenyans must stay open to legal arbitration as a way of vetting the democratic process, and standing up for stronger democratic values” according to Faith Kiboro, a Nairobi based journalist writing for ‘The Conversation’.
The main grounds of Odinga’s petition were that some of the presidential results were derived from non-existent polling stations by ungazetted presiding and returning officers and that the results which said Kenyatta won were not submitted procedurally. Besides in declaring the result, the election commission chairperson acted against the law because he didn’t have all the requisite tallying documents when he declared the result.
That and many more, impugned on the integrity of the election.
After Odinga’s 2013 presidential petition, the Supreme Court had ordered a partial recount of votes before upholding Kenyatta’s win.
But this time around the court has asked for a new election altogether.
Odinga filed a 25,000-page petition, whereas in his 2013 case, his document was 800 pages.
The current Chief Justice is known to be a moderate. His conservatism may have given Uhuru Kenyatta the confidence that the electoral commission’s position would be upheld and maintain that the election was carried out in a free, fair and transparent manner.
Yet, this unprecedented event in Kenya may have occurred because the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya is keen to demonstrate judicial independence, as a break from his public perception as a moderate.
Though the judiciary “has recently come under attack from political leaders for deciding in favour of the opposition in its determination of a series of high profile pre-election cases”, continues Faith Kiboro.
Additional reporting from