The Kenyan Supreme Court’s courageous decision to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta is a critical first for Kenya and Africa, demonstrating that democratic institutions are capable of acting independently and resolving disputes that in the past have often spilled over into violence. The ruling was also a rebuke to international monitors and diplomats — and to this page — who were too quick to dismiss charges of irregularities, largely out of relief that the Aug. 8 voting had been mainly peaceful and in the hope that disappointment with the results would not lead to the sort of violence that erupted after the disputed 2007 election, in which hundreds of people were killed.
The fears were real, but the rush to judgment overlooked, among other things, that the supervisor of a new electronic voting system, Christopher Chege Msando, had been murdered and apparently tortured days before the election.
The six-judge Supreme Court, acting on a petition from the challenger, Raila Odinga, ruled that the breakdown of the system in which ballots were to be transferred to a publicly accessible online site rendered the results of the presidential election “invalid, null and void” and ordered another election within 60 days. The court said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which was in charge of the vote, committed “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results and on other issues. The elections to fill another 1,880 posts were left in force.
Full Article: Kenya’s Giant Step for Fair Elections – The New York Times.