Veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga says the Kenyan Supreme Court has proved that Africa can get rid of rigged, corrupt elections.
In a statement today, VJ said it did not matter who would win the runoff elections as long as they were held in accordance with that country’s Constitution.
“It does not matter who will win the forthcoming runoff 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. Ethnic as Kenya’s voting patterns may be, this decision casts grave doubts about the international observation mechanism, which was quick to declare the elections as free and fair,” VJ stated.
“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.”
He described the judgment as a milestone for Kenya and Africa as a whole.
“The historic judgment of the Kenya Supreme Court on Friday, nullifying the Presidential Election Results of last month, is a major milestone for Kenya and Africa. It underlines 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,” he said.
“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 I 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 observed that Kenya had come out stronger from past election mayhem by strengthening its Constitution.
“It is important that African countries accept and respect constitutionalism, electoral democracy and the rule of law. In 2007, Kenya experienced yet another disputed election which led to the deaths of more than one 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. 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,” said VJ.
“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.”