14 September 2017

Kenya: EU Observer Mission Cautions Against Undermining Judiciary, IEBC

Nairobi — The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission has cautioned Jubilee and the Opposition NASA alliance against undermining the independence of the Judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC).

In a statement, the mission stated that persistent criticism of the integrity and neutrality of independent institutions has negatively affected confidence in the election.

It stated that since the election, NASA and Jubilee have at times been undermining the IEBC and the Judiciary and emphasised the need for this to stop.

"Since the election, NASA and Jubilee have at times been undermining the IEBC and the judiciary respectively. NASA leaders have referred to the IEBC as being "taken over by criminals" (1 September 2017). Just after the Supreme Court ruling, President Kenyatta referred to the judges as "crooks" and stated "I have always said, there is a problem with our Judiciary though we respect it," it stated.

The body further pointed out that full and effective investigations are needed to ensure those who bungled the August 8 exercise are brought to book.

"This includes the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) and other constitutionally independent commissions that support the sovereign power of the people of Kenya, as established in the Constitution. Other analysis could result in different findings, given that some 34Bs were replaced online. 16 The IEBC is a constitutionally independent commission, with article 81 specifying that elections be "conducted," it stated.

The mission further said that it will continue to observe the 2017 electoral process in Kenya with a field presence of long and short-term observers in different parts of the country for the re-run presidential election.

"The EU EOM will assess implementation of these recommendations, adherence to the legal framework of Kenya, and compliance with Kenya's international commitments."

It stated that it will release a full final report with long-term recommendations some two months after completion of the entire electoral process, including the re-run.

The sentiments came even as Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Ngunjiri Wambugu petitioned the Judicial Service Commission for the removal of Chief Justice David Maraga.

Wambugu equated the nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8 win to a judicial coup and therefore wants his motives investigated.

Jubilee Members of Parliament and President Kenyatta himself have been vocal in their criticism of the nullification and have gone as far as branding the Supreme Court majority who were of the same mind "crooks."

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