Will Kenya Politics & Democracy Improve with Poll Nullification ?

Raila Odinga has called for criminal charges against electoral officials

The people of Kenya will be heading back to presidential elections in two months time following a Supreme Court ruling to nullify the re-election of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta. The elections which are estimated to have costed billions of dollars will now have to source for funding to conduct fresh polls. One would argue that they have these funds in their electoral budget as they went into an election that had the possibility of a re-run because of the 50+1 rule.

The other financial impact on the East African developing economy will be the domino effect of Parliamentary and local county polls. This is sure going to cost the country an arm and a leg. To make matters even more dicey is weather a new poll will guarantee stakeholders acceptance of the results.

A six-judge bench, by majority decision, today found that the electoral commission failed to conduct the polls according to the Constitution and Elections Act. “Elections is not an event but an process. After considering the totality of the entire evidence, we are satisfied that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the dictates of the Constitution and the applicable principles,” Chief justice David Maraga said.

“That President Uhuru Kenyatta was not validly elected on August 8.”. Judges Ojwang and Njoki Ndung’u dissented while judge Mohammed Ibrahim, who fell ill on the second day of the case hearing, did not take part in the decision because he is still in hospital.

The top court in Kenya, in a bold move, ordered the IEBC to conduct a fresh presidential election within strict confines of the law within 60 days.Lawyers who represented President Kenyatta and the IEBC protested the judgment and sought explanations and clarifications from the judges.

The decision is a big win for National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, who accused the IEBC of rigging the election in favour of Mr Kenyatta. The two rejected the results even before they were announced on August 10, accusing the commission of imposing “computer-generated leaders” on Kenyans.

The voting patterns were mostly on ethnic grounds, a situation that prevails not only in Africa but in most parts of the world. Our Countries boundaries in Africa today were drawn at the infamous Berlin Conference in Germany, a situation that has led to now independent countries having people that may seem homogenous but have different and at times conflicting cultural practices.

Kenya will give the rest of Africa an estimated US$2 billion lesson on wether the judiciary should have the final say on electoral polls, on wether a re-run will eventually benefit the country. There is also the lessons on weather a different result from the first polls would still retain the country’s unity or lead to more ethnic divisions. ZBT will keep you updated on how things unfold