Nairobi’s envoy to Washington and a prominent US-based Kenyan legal scholar offered starkly different assessments of the presidential election at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday.
“I can categorically say here looking you straight in the eye that the Supreme Court robbed Uhuru Kenyatta of his win and stole the election from the Kenyan people,” declared Ambassador Robinson Njeru Githae.
Makau Mutua, a former US law school dean and an outspoken detractor of President Kenyatta, took the opposite view, suggesting that the election had been stolen from challenger Raila Odinga.
“It was not just the presidential election that was invalid,” Prof Mutua said. “It was the entire election. The whole thing was rotten.”
Prof Mutua, who had unsuccessfully sought the post of chief justice of Kenya’s Supreme Court last year, also told the conference, “I was very happy I didn’t get the job of chief justice because if I had ruled against Mr Kenyatta I would have been lynched in the public square.”
Following the 2013 election, Prof Mutua had tweeted that he would not recognise Mr Kenyatta as president, contending that the results had been rigged against opposition candidate Mr Odinga.
Mr Githae said he was stunned by the Supreme Court’s ruling last month overturning official election results that gave Mr Kenyatta a 1.3 million-vote margin over Mr Odinga.
“They had no basis for coming to that conclusion,” Mr Githae said in reference to the majority of justices who ruled the election invalid.
“Not a single election agent has even sworn an affidavit saying the results at a polling station were different from what was announced by the IEBC,” Mr Githae said.
The two men spoke as part of a panel at the 10th annual Kenya Scholars and Studies Association.