Decision of Kenya SC ‘refreshing’ – GIGS

The Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS), has described as “refreshing” the decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya to annul the results of that country’s August 8 Presidential election.

Incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of the polls as he obtained 54.3 per cent of valid votes cast against his long term rival, Raila Odinga’s 44.7 per cent.

The results have since been challenged by Mr. Odinga and his opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) who contested that the system of the election management body, the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), has been hacked.

In a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court yesterday, by a majority decision of 4-2, the court said the poll was not “conducted in accordance with the constitution,” declared it “invalid, null and void” and ordered that fresh elections were held in 60 days.

Reacting to the ruling in an interview with Ghanaian Times in Accra on Friday, the Executive Director of GIGS, David Agbee, said the apex court’s decision opens a new chapter for African democracy.

“For the court to rule that the incumbent President did not win the elections and that the election should be rerun, it should mean a lot to African democracy.

“What this ruling simply means is that Africa has grown and we must celebrate this ruling not because we are for or against one particular candidate but because its sends a strong signal of the continent’s maturing democracy,” Mr. Agbee said.

This is the first time on the African continent a court has overturned an electoral result.

According to Mr Agbee, the ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court should engender confidence in the judiciary instead of resorting to violence to have political grievances settled.

“The judiciary has demonstrated that it can truly be independent and this must shape the political discourse not only in Kenya but on the entire continent as we go through the next phase of our democratic development,” he added.

Mr Agbee said following the court’s ruling, there was the need for the confidence reposed in the IEBC by the Kenyan people was restored as it prepares to organise fresh polls in two months time.

David Agbee urged both the opposition and the governing party to work together to ensure there was peace before, during and after the polls considering the bloody clash between their followers after the 2007 elections.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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