EAST AFRICA — On Friday, September 1, 2017, Africa witnessed an unprecedented judicial independence and history when Kenya’s Supreme Court rendered the country’s August 8, 2017 presidential election, as “null and void.”
Kenya’s chief justice David Maraga, and three of his colleagues, made history when they overturned the August’s presidential election result that declared President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner.
Kenyans in the country and across the world have praised Justice Maraga for displaying the courage and patriotism in standing up for justice, the rule of law, fairness and for Kenya by ruling against a president who appointed him.
Chief Justice Maraga, appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has developed a record as honest, astute and independent. Several Kenyans say the court has restored their trust and confidence in the country’s judicial system.
Several Kenyan newspapers referred to Justice Maraga as a person of integrity and courage, which many attribute his devotion as a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist sect.
Sources say the Kenyan justice once reportedly admitted in an interview during a panel discussion that if appointed Chief Justice, he would never preside over a case on a Saturday.
In overturning the August’s poll result and declaring declaring President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election null and void, the court ordered a new election within 60 days.
According to the court’s ruling, the decision to overturn the election’s result was based on glaring voting irregularities, fraud and tempering with the computing system using for ballot counting.
Kenyan historians say this is the first time that a presidential election has been annulled in the country’s history. Adding that this marks a vital history making moment in the Kenya’s history, the economic development and business hub of East Africa, where the Kenyan Securities Exchange was said to have shut down for an hour upon hearing news of the court’s ruling.
Opposition supporters of the country’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga, age 72, danced and cheered in the streets when the news of the annulment broke, adding that they felt vindicated because they suspected that their candidate lost in the Auguts 8 poll because the electronic tally had been hacked.
“We are happy as Kenyans because justice has finally been found,” said Chris Omondi, a supporter of Odinga outside the court. “Raila has to win this election.”
Information closed to the judiciary revealed that the country’s supreme court ruled 4-2 in favor of a petition held by opposition candidate Odinga.
Odinga’s lawyers contested the results on ground that scrutiny of the forms used to tally the election results had anomalies affecting nearly 5 million votes in a process in which President Kenyatta won by about 1.5 million votes out of 20 million cast.
“After considering the evidence, we are satisfied that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the dictates of the constitution,” Chief Justice David Maraga said in delivered the ruling.
Prior to the August 8 poll, Chris Msando, the head of the electoral commissions’ IT programs, was tortured and murdered.
Lawyers for the opposition said the conspiracy leading to Msando’s murder justifies a conspiracy against their client Raila Odinga.
The Supreme Court ruled that the election commission “committed illegalities and irregularities in the transmission of results. The court said it will release details illegalities and irregularities within 21 days in its upcoming published judgment.
Political commentators and analysts in various parts of the world believe that Kenya has elevated the trust and confidence in Africa justice system. The main opposition leader Odinga maintained that his country, by virtue of the court’s independence, has set a high standard for the entire continent.
Meanwhile, President Kenyatta in a statement has said he personally disagreed with the ruling, but accepted it. ” I urge you to maintain peace and love each other. We believe in democracy and we are ready for the second round. We believe in the peace and unity of our country,” Kenyatta said after the Supreme Court ruling.
A top UN diplomat who sits on the UN Security Council contacted Globe Afrique to express his admiration for President Kenyatta, saying, “He has consistently demonstrated leadership and political maturity in instances in which everyone thinks he would renege or do otherwise.” Adding, “President Kenyatta’s statement on the court shows his level of patriotism and respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
Although the court rendered the election’s result as null and void, it did not cast blame on President Kenyatta or his Jubilee party for the vote irregularities.