East Africa

Elections Annulment in Kenya: Scary Lessons, Implications For Liberia?

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Monrovia – A decision by the Chief Justice of the Kenyan Supreme Court last Friday is sending shivers across the continent of Africa. In Liberia, on the verge of a historic presidential and legislative election, murmurs of what-ifs and endless possibilities are already being discussed even as the high court here has its hands full of a number of major cases likely to have serious repercussions for the upcoming presidential race.

Report by Rodney D. Sieh, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga ruled that the August 8, 2017 elections had not been conducted in accordance with the Constitution, declaring it “invalid, null and void”.

While the main opposition candidate Mr. Raila Odinga is trumpeting the ruling as a historic day for the people of Kenya, the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta said that it was “important to respect the rule of law even if you disagree with the Supreme Court ruling”.

The incumbent, Kenyatta referred to Justice Maraga and his fellow judges as wakora (crooks in Swahili), saying they had “decided to cancel the election”.

Kenyatta warned the Chief Justice that as the poll had been annulled he was now the president again, not president-elect. “Do you understand me? Maraga should know that he is now dealing with the serving president,” Mr Kenyatta, 55, said.

“We are keeping a close eye on them. But let us deal with the election first. We are not afraid.”

The court cited irregularities in last month’s election and ordered a new one within 60 days. The poll had raised fears of major violence similar to that following a disputed vote in 2007.

In Liberia, veteran lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, when asked whether similar turn of events would be possible in the aftermath of the upcoming elections, particularly in the wake of a recent controversial ruling by the Liberian Supreme Court, said: “Well, one has to just be hopeful – that’s all I can say.”

In a landmark ruling reversal in May, Liberia’s Supreme Court reversed a decision by the National Elections Commission to reject Mr. Harrison Karnwea as running mate of Liberty Party’s presidential candidate Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, noting that he was in substantial compliance.

“He resigned after the Code of Conduct was declared constitutional. His conduct of not resigning two years earlier is in violation, we don’t believe that the action is egregious in nature.”

The Court in an earlier ruling held that rejected Montserrado County District 15 aspirant, Abu B. Kamara flagrantly disrespected the Supreme Court and violated the Code of Conduct and as such it cannot overturn the National Elections Commission (NEC) decision to bar him from contesting in the October elections.

Gongloe Hails Unprecedented Kenya Ruling

Reading the Bench’s opinion on Kamara’s petition for a Writ of Prohibition on the NEC, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor said the bench sought to determine whether the Code of Conduct (CoC) was applicable to him (Kamara); whether the amendment by the Legislature was in violation of the ECOWAS Protocol;

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