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STATESMAN OPINION: KENYA’S SUPREME COURT DESERVES COMMENDATION

Politics

Last week’s historic landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya with regards to the August 8 elections is something that must be applauded, especially coming from this part of the world.

Last week’s historic landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya with regards to the August 8 elections is something that must be applauded, especially coming from this part of the world.

 

The Supreme Court in Kenya last Friday annulled the results of last month’s presidential election, citing irregularities, and subsequently ordered a new election within 60 days.

The court ruling represents a historic feat for the Supreme Court of Kenya, especially against the background of the widespread perception that the Supreme Courts in Africa are not made up of justices who can muster the required courage to overturn election results declared in favour of incumbent presidents.

In our own country, Ghana, here, many people were not very surprised that the election petition trial of 2012 at the Supreme Court, initiated by then NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and others was decided in favour of the then incumbent President John Dramani Mahama.

After all, Mr Mahama, his Vice and others were dressed in white, already in jubilant mood, just on the eve of the declaration of the outcome of the trial.

It appears it had been a “taboo” in Africa for incumbent presidents to lose such legal battles until last Friday, when the law lords of Kenya made that history and showed their counterparts elsewhere the way. 

With the precedent set by Kenya, we are of the firm belief that other countries would emulate it and ensure that they use the proper channels to seek redress whenever they feel cheated in an election and not resort to guns.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, then presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, demonstrated his commitment to the tenets of the rule of law when he, similarly, petitioned the Supreme Court of Ghana to annul the results of the 2012 elections due to irregularities. The outcome was contrary to what happened in Kenya last Friday.

Again, unlike the swift manner in which the Supreme Court of Kenya dealt with the election petition, ours had to travel for eight long months.

With the events in Kenya and what happened in Ghana in 2013, we can boldly say that, gradually, we are getting to where institutions of state will be seen to be working again. Our legal systems must serve justice to all manner of persons and not those in power.

Another lesson is that it is high time our leaders, especially those in government, understood that the will and power of the people cannot be subverted.

The voice of the people, as we usually say, is the voice of God and ought to be respected.

Going forward, we want to entreat all Kenyans, including the heads of the two main political parties, Mr Odinga and Kenyatta, to allow the rule of law to work and the true voice of the people heard in the lead up to the next polls in sixty days’ time.

The world is watching and we know, just like Ghana, Kenya would make Africa proud once again.

It would be apt to quote the opening statement of the Chief Justice of Kenya, Maraga, when he said, "The greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to the constitution and the strict adherence to the rule of law."