November 22nd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Humble Maraga court inspires hope, averts state plan for violence

Police officers patrolling Kisumu streets walked back to their commanding posts in dejection following the breakout of celebration that the government seemingly had not planned for.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 01 Sep 2017 14:37 EAT

Raila Odinga celebrates the ruling with his supporters outside the Supreme Court Building.

The Supreme Court ruling nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election averted plans by the police to confront demonstrators in so-called violence spothots in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu where thousands of police officers had been deployed ahead of the declaration.

Kenyans rose in celebration in virtually every corner of the country - with the exception of traditional Jubilee strongholds - and police officers patrolling Kisumu streets walked back to their commanding posts in dejection following the breakout of celebration that the government seemingly had not planned for.

On social media, Kenyans praised Chief Justice David Maraga for conducting the court hearings professionally from start to finish. True to his humility, the CJ apologised to Kenyans for not reading the full ruling, which he said would take time to write and promised to give it within 21 days.

"We had long hearings and some of them gone to late at night. I am sorry we have to disappoint those who expected a full judgement. Given the tonnes of materials placed before us it was not humanly possible to go through the judgments and write a reasoned and well considered judgement. If we don't deliver a judgment today we will have a crisis."

Right from the court chambers, the ruling was welcomed by a cross-section of leaders led by, as expected, the petitioners (Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka) and their supporters. 

Raila and Musyoka posted a strong message on Facebook hailing the Supreme Court ruling that nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election. “Historic moment indeed, Africa's first ever decision to nullify Presidential result," Raila said. Mr Musyoka wrote: "Being a lawyer, I feel proud as a member of the bar. We however do not have faith in the IEBC”.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali wrote, “The historic ruling delivered by Kenya's Supreme Court is first in Africa - showing the world that even in moments when the world doubted our democracy, Kenya has proved naysayers wrong. This is a win for everyone, no matter your political views, because the standards of integrity in a Kenyan election have now been raised. It is now up to our politicians to adhere to the law and principles of constitutionalism as they campaign for your vote in 60 days”.

Raila’s top adviser and former director of communications Salim Lone wrote, “Kenya's court put to shame John Kerry and international observers. They ignored massive evidence of fraud. Their role must be re-examined”. He continued “A new Kenya and Africa have been born. Judiciaries now know that they can challenge mighty presidents fighting against the people's will”.

Mr Lone, however, wondered how IEBC would conduct a free and fair elections in 60 days while its credibility has been ruined by the bungled polls “Kenya challenge-Court confirms Election Commission riddled with fraud, cannot manage rerun. Must have new officials within 60 days. How?” 

Human rights defenders also demanded further action on other controversial results and a resolution of the corruption in IEBC. Ndung’u Wainaina said, “How can election of governors, and MPs with 54 percent win stand going by Supreme Court findings?” Irũngũ Houghton said the Chebukati team "must publicly demonstrate capability to transparently manage the next election."

Former Taita Taveta MP Jackson Mwalulu appeared to support President Kenyatta’s quashed win and posted “The question is not whether Uhuru won. He did. It's the process that is in dispute. A repeat will bear the same result”.

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