November 22nd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Uhuru calls Supreme Court judges 'stupid', 'thugs', threatens to fix court if he wins new poll

(As you all know, I had been declared as the president-elect, but Maraga (Chief Justice) and his people have decided that I lose it. But Maraga and his team of crooks should know that I am the sitting President)," Uhuru said at Burma Market.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 02 Sep 2017 14:35 EAT

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing the Jubilee Party leaders at State House early this afternoon.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto this afternoon used a nationally televised meeting to call as "stupid" the Supreme Court judges who nullified the August 8 presidential election and threatened to deal with them if Jubilee is re-elected in the fresh election ordered by the court. 

“We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem. Who even elected you? Were you? We have a problem and we must fix it,” a visibly angry Uhuru declared at State House, Nairobi, where he and Ruto summoned Jubilee governors and members of the county assembly from around the country. Citizen TV and KTN channels carried large part of the meeting live.

“Even if you are so stupid, ask yourself something: The people elected an MCA, results were transmitted, and no one asked questions. Those of MPs and senators were transmitted, and no one asked questions and they have been sworn in. Those of governors were transmitted, no one asked questions. Now how do four people wake up and say there was a technicality in the transmission of the results of the President only? How?” posed Uhuru.

While the president's concern focused on the petition against his election, several petitions have been filed in lower courts for other elections, and the law allows these to be filed much later after the declaration of the results, unlike in the presidential election which has to be heard and determined within 14 days of the announcement.

The President, who had appealed to his opponent Raila Odinga to pursue his grievances about the election at the Supreme Court, said today that the Supreme Court had no power to overturn an election result. "This is the first time in the world this has happened," he said, explaining that even in the United States that is the leading democracy, no court had overturned a presidential election.

While the nullification of the election was widely unexepcted, a fact-check by other journalists has held that the Kenyan court decision was the first only in Africa, even on the continent constitutional courts have deposed presidents, including most recently in The Gambia, where the court declined a petition by President Yahya Jammeh and confirmed his defeat. The court has also deposed a president in Madagascar. 

On his part, Ruto said, “When this is done, we shall interrogate everything, how a Supreme Court overturned the will of Kenyans on the basis of things that have nothing to do with how they voted, on some technicality. Hiyo ni upuzi (That is stupidity)”.

The deputy president accused the opposition of 'using' the judiciary to taint the nullified election and push their way into a coalition government that is commonly referred to as nusu mkate in Kenyan political parlance.

“We want to tell you this: We won the election fair and square, and we are unapologetic about it. We will not succumb to any intimidation from the judiciary to forego our win. We won,” said the DP.

Today's remarks by the two leaders follow similarly charged comments Uhuru made in a Nairobi suburb last evening, hours after the Supreme Court announced their determination.

"Unajua hapo hawali nilikuwa Rais mtarajiwa, lakini sasa Maraga na watu wake wamesema hii ipotee, sasa Maraga na hao wakora wake wajue mimi ni Rais aliyekalia kiti. (As you all know, I had been declared as the president-elect, but Maraga (Chief Justice) and his people have decided that I lose it. But Maraga and his team of thugs should know that I am the sitting President)," Uhuru said at Burma Market.

Civil society leaders and other political leaders took to social media to denounce the president's remarks. "Why would President Kenyatta call Supreme Court judges 'wakora'? This tragic!" wrote human rights defender Ndungu Wainaina on Twitter.

Nairobi lawyer Miguna Miguna, who failed in a gubernatorial campaign, "'Go to court!' they shouted at Raila Odinga and NASA. After the Supreme Court decides, they are now threatening, 'We'll fix you' to CJ Maraga," Miguna wrote on Twitter.

Homa Bay MCA Nancy Anyango said the president was undermining public confidence in the judiciary. "Why is the president threatening institutions? Last time we saw him threaten Chiefs of Makueni county and now look at what he says toward Judiciary," Anyango wrote on Facebook.

Other Kenyans, however, expressed concern that the president was appearing in meetings in a state that lowered the stature of his office. Nabii Nabwera, an opposition candidate in the last election, beseeched the president's advisers, "The President requires time to reflect. Withdraw him from Public please. He is a human being."

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