How Supreme Court ruling may affect other election petitions

Supreme Court of Kenya judges. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Supreme Court of Kenya judges. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya made history as the first African country to nullify a presidential election. The decision by the Supreme Court has been described by many as a “landmark ruling”. It is the fourth time globally that a perceived victory of a president-elect has been nullified by the courts.

The ruling came as a surprise and exposed the limits of the Constitution even after bestowing the Supreme Court with authority to overrule an election result. The Constitution does not provide in detail for the electoral body that takes part in the fresh election.

The declaration has seen a record 277 petitions, the highest in the land, compared to about 88 petitions in 2013. The petitions cannot be solely attributed to the court declaration, but it surely emboldened some petitioners in numerous ways.

First, the Supreme Court was clear that an election is about the process and not just the result. This is a significant shift from the pre-2017 position where Section 83 of the Elections Act placed heavy reliance on results.