Extraordinary, never seen in Africa! The Supreme Court of Kenya, on September 1, 2017 in Nairobi annulled the presidential elections results, which gave as winner of the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila Odinga the challenger, prime minister of the country, longtime leader of Kenyan opposition, with his lawyers team, in the Supreme Court, has filed a lawsuit against these results proclaimed by the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) after the august 8th, 2017 presidential elections.
The Court argued that the results transmission was irregular and that the IEBC in its operations failed in respecting the constitution.
Worldwide and through the African continent, this ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya judges were exceptionally congratulated as a democratic revolution, as a eloquent and significant hope for the advancement of democracy in Kenya, in Africa, also as an proud example for the independence of justice system to the African governments, nations. “Things are changing in Africa politics, a new Kenya is rising,” were saying millions of Kenyans and African citizens rejoicing in such rhetoric.
The Kenyans and all the observers of this election were really surprised by this Supreme Court of Kenya verdict. Indeed, people were dramatically wondering about the effects of the Supreme Court decision which they were sure would easily offer the victory to Uhuru Kenyatta, the sitting president. People were convinced that Kenyatta supporters would attack Odinga supporters if the results were validated. An atmosphere of fear and insecurity was dominant.
Police’s repression was already wild on Odinga’s supporters since they were criticizing the conditions of the vote. Physical confrontations between supporters were devastating the social unity background.
But six judges out of seven at the Supreme Court, after rude debates in their offices freely took the decision to refuse the results and ordered a new election to be hold in the next 60 days according the Kenyan constitution. The new date was scheduled by the Judge Maraca for October 26th. The two parties National Super Alliance of Raila Odinga and Jubilee Party of Uhuru Kenyatta are in full electoral campaign for the October 26th national appointment.
As soon as Raila Odinga’s supporters heard the amazing Supreme Court decision, they immediately ran to Nairobi streets and celebrated it loudly.
Odinga’s official first words were, “It is for the first time in the african democracy history, a judgment has been pronounced by a court to denounce the irregularities during a president election. It’s a judgment against a sitting president. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Supreme Court judges for having done that for posterity. I would like to thank our lawyers team who worked late by night, working doing hard efforts to build our file. I would like to thank another team of young Kenyan citizens who were worked without sleeping to collect the proofs used by our lawyers in this request. It’s a victory. We said in the beginning, our travel to the Canaan country, our promised land was impossible to stop.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta, reacting to the Supreme Court decision explained in these terms to the medias, “It is very important for us, Kenyans, to be respectful to the rules of the law. I personally disagree the decision but I respect it as I disagree. I repeat that I disagree because millions of kenyans ranked, made their choice, and six persons decided that were going against the people choice.”
Uhuru Kenyatta added, “We are ready to demand the people with the same society project, for the unification of the country, the building of a national political party, the development of the nation. We are not in war. Your neighbor is still your neighbor. Stay shaking hands.”
Kenyatta considered that the court’s ruling has given him a chance to continue serving Kenyans as a sitting president and not as president-elect.
Nic Cheeseman, lecturer at Birmingham University and Kenyan electoral system specialist, enjoyed saying to the french journal Le monde, “This decision is excellent. It shows that today it is not only about who wins the elections but to verify if the constitution and the electoral law were respected. Many questions rise, how to run next elections correctly in just sixty days? Shall the IEBC members be changed?”
Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group, a analysis center said to the journal Le monde “It’ s historical in Africa because this court which took this decision is the same which denied Odinga’s petition in 2013, it means that the opposition can rely the justice system with principle of equity. It reveals that Kenya, one the most opened African societies is getting democratically more mature“.
Amnesty International apologized “This decision is an example for the world. Otherwise what shall we think about those international observers who testified that the elections were free of fraud?
The 2017 presidential elections in Kenya are carefully watched by the world because in this country, the presidential elections results have been several times subject to worst violence, murders, rape and physical confrontations between these two challengers’s supporters claiming each other to be the winner of the elections.
Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Olinga are furiously fighting around the presidential seat since a decade.
In December 27th, 2007, the presidential elections opposed President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. When Kibaki was designated by the IEBC as the winner, Raila Odinga and his supporters protested vehemently accusing the IEBC of massive fraud. Both political leaders’s supporters got involved in violent physical confrontations in Nairobi and many other towns in the country. On February 25th, 2008, kenyan police issued a report of 1,500 persons killed and 15,000 persons displaced. According to a number estimated by the International Criminal Court in 2010, 663,921 persons moved far from Nairobi.The Luos, ethnic group supporting Odinga and the Kikuyu supporting Kenyatta regularly were confronting physically with murders.
The African Union Commission located in Addis-Abeba (Ethiopia) and the European Union at Bruxelles (Belgium) invited the protagonists to stop the violence and have a dialogue. The European Union observers related that the elections did not respect the international and regional criterias of democratic elections and requested for an independent investigation to clarify the election true results.
On January 2nd, 2008, the IEBC president Samuel Kivuitu revealed to have received pressure and not being sure of President Kibaki’s victory. Some personalities like the United Nations general secretary Ban-Ki Moon, the United States secretary of state Condeelizza Rice recommended negotiations to the two challengers and the end of violence.
On January 5th, 2008, President Kibaki proposed Odinga to be the prime minister. Odinga answered Kibaki that he would accept if Kibaki admitted his defeat. Ghana head of state John Kufuor in that period, the past United Nations general secretary Kofi Anan met the two protagonists to find a solution. Violence, ethnic based killing of citizens, assassinations of political leaders, repression of Odinga’s party meetings by police were daily complicating the situation. At last, Kibaki and Odinga accepted to share the power. The parliament voted a new constitution and the decision to name Odinga prime minister.
In April 2008, Raila Odinga formally became the prime minister of Kenya with executive power and competences. Uhuru Kenyatta was the finance minister and deputy vice-president.
The International Criminal Court, at The Hague, in 2010 has decided to file a lawsuit against 6 kenyan political leaders as responsible of the mass killings perpetrated during that crisis before Odinga obtained the prime minister seat. Uhuru Kenyatta was also targeted by the International Criminal Court to be judged for crimes against humanity.
In 2013, Kibaki left the presidency. His finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, his favorite candidate, and his prime minister Odinga, major were rivals of the presidential elections. Odinga filed a petition, contested unsuccessfully the results alleging fraud and technical malpractices.
The United States and European Nations warned the consequences could be a disaster for Kenyans if they elect a leader facing charges by the International Criminal Court.
Some diplomats even promised they would have conversation with Kenyatta only if he got elected.
At last, despite of eight candidates contestation, Uhuru Kenyatta, 55 years old, son of the Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta, facing trial for crimes against humanity was elected with 50.07 per cent of the vote the president of Kenya, succeeding Mwai Kibaki announced by the country’s electoral commission.
Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto still were accused by the International Criminal Court of financing and instigating ethnic mobs which led to mass killings after the 2007 election. Both men would endure months, years on trial while governing their country. They went to The Hague for hearings and trial. Finally, the International Criminal Court on December 5th, 2014 abandoned the procedure for lack of proofs.
This year 2017 is a special democratic test in front of the whole world for Kenyan and for their electoral system to be able to elect clearly their president with no violence and conflicts. Odinga asked the IEBC members to be replaced because they lost their credibility.
Today, in the country, the climate still is turning into chaotic because political forces are quarrelling to set up the IEBC members to be the most reliable possible. Political leaders are warning about the conditions of the next electoral contest. The Nairobi University has been closed after a National Super Alliance meeting repressed few days ago by police. Odinga and Kenyatta remain always illustrating in a systematic logic of hot speeches. Indeed, the sitting government of Kenyatta is trying to modify the electoral law before the next electoral round. Odinga and supporters are furious today insisting in IEBC reform, threating to boycott the election. Kenyatta responded to him to give up if he is not interested but Odinga claimed he will participate only if the IEBC provide a level playing field, announcing a lot of difficulties on the way to make change for Kenya.
“Before this change can come, there will be a lot of drama. Many will fall by the wayside. Many will fall for the good things in Pharaoh’s court and forget that we are leaving Egypt for Canaan,” he said October 9th,2017 while the Supreme Court is forcing him to sign a petition to oblige him not to boycott the elections. Odinga says he is free to participate or not.
Kenya is crossing a crucial political fever once again. The world is watching there.
It’s a IEBC deeply restructured which shall coordinate the electoral presidential round of October 26th in the ancient United States first black President Barack Obama’s african nation of origin.
#Clap for 2017 Supreme Court of Kenya
By Abu-Jahlil Astrid Chacha for Milwaukee Community Journal