Chief Justice David Maraga taking oath of office. Source: Wikimedia Commons
The nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win by the Supreme Court of Kenya has exposed the hypocrisy of foreign election observers and dashed the hopes of many Kenyans on foreign intervention in times of political and economic crises.
Following the hurried declaration by Kenya’s electoral agency, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), on 11th August, 2017, that Kenyatta had won against his fiercest opponent Raila Odinga, the observers threw their weight behind the decision and termed the process as free, fair and credible. This was despite queries raised by the opposition parties and widespread demonstrations by aggrieved Kenyans.
But on 1st September, 2017, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court, the country’s highest judicial organ, ruled that IEBC committed an “illegality” in declaring Kenyatta the winner. The historic ruling, the first in Africa, saw thousands of Kenyans pour into the street to celebrate what they termed as confidence and trust in judiciary.
Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga said during his judgement: “The greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to the constitution, strict adherence to the rule of law, and above all, the fear of God.”
But a seemingly downcast Kenyatta dismissed the judges as a group of thugs. He has promised to win in repeat presidential election slated for October 17th. But nothing beats the criticism foreign election observers who included, the European Union, the Carter Center of US and the Commonwealth continue to receive.
“These are tourists who come he to see only how people are voting. It’s time they stopped lecturing us on the rule of law,” said Nancy Kitili.
“The ruling has proved that we can run our affairs without the help of the so called foreign missions. For the first time the behaved like any beneficiary of bribery.” Jactone Waliula, a university student concluded.