Maina Kiai in his Saturday Nation column submitted before the Supreme Court announced its ruling annulling the election had this to say:
And it has been disappointing to see international observers — some domiciled in Kenya and some from outside — play that same game. Is this because they don’t think we deserve better?
Or is this guilt about the waste of millions of dollars spent on the IEBC? Or is it because the election result of August 10 is exactly what these observers wanted?
If it is the latter, why on earth do we ever have elections in the first place? International observers — aside from the EU Observation Mission (not the EU in Kenya) — set a new low for what it means to do elections observations.
Watch the hearings live: Citizen TV; or the other Kenyan networks.
At 9am tomorrow [Wednesday] in Nairobi, the Kenyan Supreme Court is scheduled to announce a key ruling. The issue is whether or not the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be required to produce for scrutiny the actual voter registration lists used in the voting.
[Update: On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court denied the production request from AfriCOG as time-barred, saying it needed to have been filed with the original petition. Once again, the Court seems to be treating this as ordinary civil litigation subject to procedures but without the months or years that would ordinarily be involved in developing the facts of the case. The hearing has begun and the case will be decided without much evidence, which at some level was always inevitable given the time frame and the position of the IEBC as party litigant rather than a neutral body that would willingly cooperate with scrutiny.]
The issue is before the Court due to the vigorous opposition, played out over two days in preliminary hearings, by the IEBC and the proponents of its March 9 “final results” to a request for these public records from AfriCOG. On Monday afternoon, the Court heard the complaints of the IEBC side that AfriCOG had not formally served copies on enough of the various lawyers for the government and the other respondents for parties who are not directly implicated in the custody of the records. Thus, more copies served, arguments were held this morning, with decision tomorrow.
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.
The “media zombie” awakes with a recitation of damning basic questions about the systems employed by the IEBC.
AfriCOG and other Kenyan civil society groups were left as lonely voices before the election while the public relations of the IEBC and the rest of the Kenyan Government, propped up as best I can see so far by the “western donors” (with money from taxpayers like me) and the “aid industry” peddled false assurance. I will have to admit that the situation is significantly worse than I had realized.
And then beyond the systems that were not even seriously in place, we have the specifics of bogus numbers coming out with election challenge petitions by AfriCOG and by the CORD campaign filed today. So much like 2007 only worse in terms of a mass “overvote” in the presidential race.
The case is sure to be a test of Kenya’s recently overhauled judiciary. It is now much more widely respected, but some analysts have questioned whether all six Supreme Court justices will be able to withstand the pressure of refereeing such a high stakes contest for power. Even before the election, the chief justice received death threats, and analysts have raised questions about the independence of some of the other justices.