Congratulations to Kenyans on a peaceful resolution and Happy Easter.
First comment: we do all see that election violence in Kenya is not inevitable; what happened in 2007 has identifiable causes even if they have not been acknowledged or addressed, primarily the conduct of various politicians. People in Kenya do not simply run out and start killing their neighbors because their side lost an election. Having a credible Court helps a great deal, thanks to the passage of the new Constitution after all these years; kudos to those that made it happen through years of struggle.
Second: I am very proud of AfriCOG for carrying forward a tremendous amount of work in an unconscionably short amount of time to show that there were many unanswered questions about how the election was conducted and why, and how the votes cast at the polling stations were transformed into the March 9 “final results”. They carried a burden that should have been borne by an objective and independent IEBC, rather than facing a united front of the Government of Kenya aligned against scrutiny.
Third: I assume the Court announced what they agreed on unanimously, which was that the outcome was to deny the petitions. Whether or not all six justices individually agreed is something that we will probably never really know, but we will have to wait for the Court’s opinion in two weeks to learn more. Given the short amount of time and the schedule they have already been on, I suspect we will not get as much detail then as many have hoped for, but we will have to see.
Fourth: The Court ruled that each side was to bear its own costs–not the ordinary practice. I think this disposes of the claims by some on the Government side that the ruling indicates that the challenges were not substantial.
Like everyone else who is engaged but not able to be in the courtroom, I am watching live broadcast of the preliminary hearings in Kenya’s Supreme Court of the petitions challenging the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s March 9 announcement of “final” election results.
The live broadcast of these proceedings is an amazing development–to me of much greater significance than the presidential campaign debates.
I wanted to take just a moment to stress the role of Gladwell Otieno as petitioner as executive director of AfriCOG. The AfriCOG filing is petition no. 4–followed by CORD’s petition no. 5. Although the court has tended to give an unbalanced share of time to the array of government-paid lawyers representing the two defendants who are in lock-step, Hassan as the national returning officer in the presidential vote, and the IEBC which he chairs, AfriCOG, as an open governance organization, has taken on the challenge of defending the interests of the voters and integrity of the process itself.
This is not about Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta–this is about the Kenyan democracy.
It has been interesting to see the respondents file replies to AFriCOG’s petition trying to ignore the issues by simply referring to the “already filed” responses to the subsequent CORD petition–it is in their interest to try to frame the issue as one about a challenge by a losing candidate rather than about why the IEBC did not do its job, and meet its obligation to each citizen under the Constitution, of holding a simple, fair and transparent election.