23 September 2017

Kenya: How Parties Reacted to the Court's Ruling

Photo: The Nation Media Group
Samia Bugwe North MP, Gideon Onyango, claims that Ugandans are being registered to take part in Kenya's polls. Daily Nation Photo

Kenya's Supreme Court's judgment on the nullified August 8 presidential election has been met with various reactions.

First, the electoral body Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has pushed the new presidential election from October 17 to 26 to allow adequate preparations in line with the Supreme Court's ruling.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the new date will enable the commission to prepare for an election that meets the standards demanded by the court, especially on the use of technology.

Chief Justice David Maraga warned the electoral body that the Supreme Court will not hesitate to annul a presidential election if called upon to adjudicate on a similar dispute where the anomalies remain the same as was experienced on August 8.

The judges ruled that IEBC failed to electronically transmit presidential results from the polling stations in clear violation of the election laws.

The Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) failed to work in some areas due to lack of 3G network, which was to be provided by telecom service providers Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom.

Political reactions

Politically, the full ruling has invoked various political reactions with the ruling Jubilee party maintaining that it overturned the will of millions of voters, while the opposition coalition is using the judgement to push for changes within IEBC.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the judges based their decision on falsified evidence and without scrutinising the documents, which had been supplied to the court by the IEBC.

He said the court placed more emphasis on the process and ignored the eight million votes that he received in the August election.

He accused the judges of bestowing themselves with power to overturn the will of the voters.

"I think those robes they wear make them think that they are more clever than the rest of us. Justice Maraga thinks he can overturn the will of the people. We shall show that the will of the people cannot be overturned by a few people," said President Kenyatta.

He, however, said he will abide by the ruling and directed parliament to pass the $97,000 budget for the fresh presidential elections. IEBC had asked the Treasury for $116,000.

Demand for reforms

The opposition coalition, National Super Alliance (Nasa) on the other hand has taken advantage of the ruling to push for a set of irreducible minimum reforms that must be met in order for the elections to take place.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga is demanding the replacement of key officials at the IEBC secretariat and the exclusion of the Dubai-based firm Al-Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company from printing presidential ballot papers.

Mr Odinga had also accused French ICT firm, OT-Morpho, of complicity in electoral fraud.

Nasa is demanding the removal of the IEBC director of Legal and Public Affairs Praxedes Tororey -- who retired on September 22 after attaining the age of 60 -- the chief executive Ezra Mr Chiloba, voter registration and electoral operations director Immaculate Kasait, head of operations Betty Nyabuto, ICT director James Muhati and Commissioner Yakub Guliye.

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