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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 2-Sep-2017
2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election

Web Log - September, 2017

2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election

John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election


Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)
Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)

Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the August 8 re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta was invalid, and that a new election must be held within 60 days. The court found that Kenyatta "was not validly elected," rendering the result "invalid, null and void." The ruling was a victory for opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had brought the case, claiming that the election had been rigged.

The ruling was a complete shock to everyone, including both Kenyatta supporters and opposition, but no one had expected the court to rule against Kenyatta. Corruption is so pervasive in African countries, including Kenya, that normally judges will rule in whatever way the president pays them to rule, and everyone expected Kenya's Supreme Court judges to do the same in this case, irrespective of the evidence.

In fact, the ruling is being called "historic," because it's the first time that a legal challenge to a presidential election has ever been successful in the entire history of Africa. Odinga said:

"Itís a very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of Africa. For the first time in history of African democratization a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular elections for the president."

Kenyatta said:

"I personally disagree with the ruling that has been made today but I respect it. Millions of Kenyans made their choice but six people [the judges] have decided that they will go against the will of the people."

Supporters of Odinga were ebullient, and celebrated in the streets for hours. Odinga himself added:

ďIt is now clear that the entire edifice of the (election board) is rotten. Clear evidence shows that the commission was taken over by criminals ... they must face criminal prosecution. ... We are ready but cannot repeat the election with this commission."

It's thought that the reasons for the court's ruling included the following:

The court will provide detailed reasoning for its decision within 21 days.

The court ruled that a new election must be held within 60 days. However, an election is enormously expensive, and Kenya is deeply in debt. Furthermore, after the last election fiasco, it will be hard to convince people that the next election will be fair. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and Reuters

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John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

After the August 8 election, and Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared a provisional winner, his opponent Raila Odinga began claiming that the election had been rigged.

At that point, John Kerry, who had been former president Barack Obama's Secretary of State, and who had led the Jimmy Carter Center's election observer mission in Kenya, said:

"Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Donít let anybody besmirch that."

Well, now that Kenya's Supreme Court has besmirched it, Kerry and other election day observers are coming under attack in Kenya. They're being accused of blindly endorsing the election to produce the outcome desired by the government, and of completely ignoring the concerns raised by the opposition.

Muthoni Wanyeki, who served as Amnesty Internationalís East Africa Regional Director, supports these accusations against "the election observer industry," and goes further:

"I feel a real anger about the way they treat us. Iíve had diplomats say to my face that, speaking in the light of history, this election was an improvement [from past elections]. Iím sorry we do not live in history, we live in the here and now and we have a right to free and fair elections. Their attitude in condescending, neocolonial and by saying that things are improving, theyíre treating us like small children. Hopefully this ruling is like egg on their face."

John Kerry on Friday said then that while there were "little aberrations here and there," the election was not rigged. France 24 and CNN and Foreign Policy

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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