Kenya

History made as Kenya Supreme Court punctures Uhuru’s balloon

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“A declaration is hereby issued that the presidential election held on August 8, 2017, was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law rendering the declared result invalid, null and void,” with those words the Supreme Court of Kenya cut short Uhuru Kenyatta’s honeymoon following what will now be remembered as a pyrrhic victory – that is a victory obtained at excessive cost. Though the court absolved him of any wrongdoing, he cannot escape the accusing fingers given that he was the beneficiary of the vote theft. Thus like Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, Uhuru has lost more than he gained in defeating Raila this time around.
Congratulations are due to the Nasa legal team. They focused like a laser on the failings and weaknesses of the electronic results transmission system. Clearly what lawyer PLO Lumumba called a fishing expedition has yielded a big catch, prompting the Supreme Court to nullify Uhuru’s election.
Following this trailblazing ruling, all Kenyans can walk with their heads high. All Africans join in celebrating a rebirth of democracy. If dismantling the one party state was Kenya’s second liberation, Raila’s successful challenge of Uhuru’s victory in court is Kenya’s third liberation. Kenya’s judiciary found the courage to call a spade a spade. Chief Justice David Marago led the majority of the court in closing the chapter on decades of whitewashing electoral fraud.
Democracy requires a strong judiciary to provide it with a strong legal foundation. A weak judiciary is hazardous to democracy. The credit goes to the transparent manner in which judges are appointed in Kenya. The Kenya Supreme Court has spoken emphatically that an election is not an event but a process which must be conducted according to the dictates of the constitution.
Even in the heat of the moment, it is no exaggeration to say that this historic judgement will have far-reaching consequences not only in Kenya but in our region and the entire continent of Africa.
We have to note that the judgement was not unanimous. Four were persuaded that the grounds for the petition were substantive and that the petitioners proved their case. Two judges were not persuaded. That divide is also reflected across Kenya. While in Nasa strongholds of Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu there was a spontaneous eruption of celebration, in the Jubilee heartlands of Eldoret and Gatundu, homelands to KANU doyens Moi and Kenyatta, the mood was sombre. Some put on a brave face vowing that Kenyatta will win with an even bigger margin. In Eldoret the TV screen showed one disappointed local paying more attention to the watermelon he was munching than the news from the Supreme Court.
The Kenya Supreme Court is occupied by courageous individuals. Whether you were for nullification of the election results or for upholding the results, you needed a lot of courage. That kind of independence can only come from the process of appointment and the considerations of the appointing authority. Where character and competence rather than loyalty

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