By Pinky Khoabane
President Uhuru Kenyatta has come out guns blazing calling the ruling to nullify Kenya’s presidential elections “political” and said he would however respect the decision. He then addressed the nation. “My primary message to every single Kenyan is peace. Let us be people of peace.
“Let me ask every single Kenyan, wherever they may be, whatever they may be doing, whoever they may be with – take the hand of your brother…..take the hand of your sister and shake it and say amani. Peace. Peace. And I repeat again peace.
“Your neighbor will still be your neighbor regardless of whatever has happened. The man or woman who sits with you, who resides next to you..
“…will still be your neighbor regardless of their political affiliation, regardless of religion, regardless of color, regardless of tribe.”
Kenyatta’s address calls for peace among Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the deadly conflict following the 2007 bitterly contested elections. About 1200 people were killed then.
We can all hope that the people of Kenya heed his call.
The EU Observer Mission released a statement a few minutes ago
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling demonstrates the independence of Kenya’s judiciary and the effective electoral complaint mechanism in place in Kenya. The EU election observation mission (EOM) has consistently encouraged Kenyans to use the courts for peaceful dispute resolution, and now calls on all Kenyans to respect the ruling. The petitions process is a core part of an election.
We have followed the petitions process with our observers in the Supreme Court. We have seen that the Court has worked diligently, openly and thoroughly despite short timelines. The mission has noted that lawyers of different teams have appreciated the Supreme Court for providing an enabling environment. The mission will review the detailed judgement once it is available.
The EU EOM’s preliminary statement was presented on 10 August, commenting on the entire electoral process up to and including counting. Some shortcomings were noted, including inconsistent procedures for the complementary mechanisms used and staff difficulties in completing results forms. On 16 August the EU EOM called for the IEBC to publish all results forms (34As and 34Bs), as the delay in publication was problematic. Full transparency is necessary for all stakeholders to have confidence in the announced results.
We call on the election administration to consult with stakeholders, to work transparently and to give regular updates on progress being made. We also call on all parties and candidates to do their part to support a smooth re-run. Agents need to be present in polling stations and tallying centres and need to be able to see and check details.
The EU EOM looks forward to continuing its good relations with all stakeholders and will always welcome information on any problems arising.
The EU EOM is impartial and independent, observing the elections according to Kenya’s national law and the international commitments it has made”.
Many Questions Arise
The international observer mission of the Kenyan presidential election had declared the elections free and fair. They praised Kenya’s electoral commission saying they had seen no sign of manipulation.
What does the decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court mean for the integrity of the election observers? But do the tools which observers use to declare an election free the same as those used by courts? How could all these observers who included our own former President Thabo Mbeki get it so wrong?