Supreme Court ruling has restored rule of law

Saturday September 2 2017

By EDITORIAL
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Kenyans have struggled for decades to institutionalise the rule of law. We have fought, shed blood, lost lives and property in search of constitutional order.

Intrinsic in this is the desire to establish independent institutions that provide checks and balances against each other.

It has been a quest to give voice and secure the sovereignty of the people. And sovereignty of the people is delegated to Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary, which institutions are obliged to exercise that authority prudently and judiciously.

The cancellation of the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta by the Supreme Court is the single most outstanding explication of the supremacy of the rule of law and maturation of our democracy.

It demonstrated independence of the Judiciary and signalled the end of the era of impunity that has painfully assailed this country for far too long.

CONSTITUTION

Chief Justice David Maraga captured this in his preamble of the ruling, postulating that the greatness of any nation lies in its fidelity to the Constitution and adherence to the rule of law.

The Constitution must have the teeth to bite and protect the right and will of the people.

Although it is in order for the National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga and his deputy Musyoka Kalonzo and their supporters have reason to celebrate the outcome, really, this is not a win for Nasa or a loss for Jubilee Party. It is a triumph of the will of the people and henceforth, this must reign supreme.

For now, Mr Odinga and his leadership team must counsel their followers to celebrate with moderation because this is not the end.

The toughest journey, campaigns and elections, is yet to begin. Conversely, we acknowledge the humility with which President Kenyatta accepted the verdict inasmuch as he disagreed with it.

ERRONEOUS RESULT

But what should concern us more as a country and a people is the practice of our elections.

First, we have made it a life and death matter. Not surprisingly it is fraught with pitfalls.

Two, the institutions charged with managing it have proved pathetically unable to execute their mandate.

Precisely, the Supreme Court annulled the elections because they were conducted in a manner that was extremely crooked, fundamentally flawed and fatally incurable.

They lacked integrity, hence the outcome was grossly erroneous and, therefore, declared null and void.

It is not lost that following the controversial re-election of President Mwai Kibaki in 2007, the report of the Independent Electoral Review Commission led by South African judge Johann Kriegler declared the elections so shambolic that it was not possible to determine who actually won.

SUPREME COURT

Some 10 years on, the Supreme Court has come to the same conclusion. It simply means something is terribly wrong with the electoral process.

The Supreme Court found the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) culpable; it presided over an imperfect process and gave invalid results.

How it will conduct the next elections in the next 60 days is unimaginable.

Already, the Nasa leadership has declared war on the commission and with or without that, its credibility has been severely dented and the public has lost confidence in it.

Kenya has come a long way and the ruling has now put us on the global map as a thriving democracy; never again should we fail the integrity test in management not only of elections but entire governance system.