Cost of democracy: Uganda democracy activists jubilate over court annulment of Kenya election
Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | On Oct.17, Kenyans will get back into the long queues to vote again after the Supreme Court annulled the last presidential election which saw incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, declared winner.
The next election will be exactly 70 days after the last one held on Aug.08. Quite short notice but Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says the commission is ready. To achieve that, the IEBC decided it needed to cut corners.
IEBC Chairman said during the commission’s 204th plenary meeting held on Sept.4, that the commission is ready for a fresh presidential election after the Supreme Court’s annulment of the presidential election.
It, for example, said there shall be no fresh nominations for the fresh election and only Raila Odinga and his running mate, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, and the third respondent, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his running mate, William Samoei Ruto, will be the candidates in the new vote. But that decision was immediately challenged in court by one of the candidates.
That the IEBC was planning in the dark was clear because the Supreme Court had not yet released its detailed judgment and the electoral commission, did not know exactly which areas require improvement in the management of the fresh election. Faced with the lack of specifics, Chebukati said the commission was revising all operational and procedural requirements for the conduct of the election. He called for “patience and understanding among all stakeholders as we work together to deliver free, fair, credible and peaceful elections”. For many, it was a difficult call to heed.
While annulling the election, the Supreme Court indicted the IEBC. It accused the Commission of having committed irregularities and illegalities that harmed the integrity of the election. Chief Justice David Maraga said the electoral commission “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the Constitution.”
Candidate Raila Odinga, on Sept. 05, immediately rejected the date set for the fresh elections. He said the IEBC needed to have first consulted his National Super Alliance (NASA) but it had not.
“I was not consulted on the election date,” he said, “There are thorny issues that needed to be dealt with first before the election is conducted.”
Odinga repeated his earlier assertion that NASA will not allow the current IEBC as constituted to conduct the fresh elections.
“They can be compromised,” he said.