Why Supreme Court must make the right decision on election dispute

The Supreme Court of Kenya. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

A credible electoral process is an instrument for the determination of integrity and legitimacy of a democratic government. From voter registration to the transmission and the announcement of the vote results, the electoral process must be seen to be free and fair.

According to the World Bank, Kenya has made significant political and economic reforms that have contributed to sustained economic growth, social development, and political stability gains over the past decade.

However, the latest happenings around the just concluded General Election are worrying. From a section of the commissioners disowning the presidential results to the magnitude of litigation unflolding in the courts, it is apparent that the country's democracy faces test times.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) posits that, political instability may lead to a more frequent switch of policies, creating volatility and thus, negatively affecting macroeconomic performance.

According to the Waki Commission, the main cause of political restlessness in Kenya is personalising political power around the presidency. Individuals in the civil service, the Judiciary, and even in Parliament, understand that, irrespective of the laws, the Executive arm of government has the final say in what happens in the country.

People want political power to control the country’s resources either at the county or the national level. The Judiciary is one of the institutions that contribute to credible elections. Its role is to adjudicate all disputes that arise as part of the electoral process.

However, according to the Kriegler report of 2009, the post-election violence was partly due to the failure of the Judiciary to provide a fair and credible forum for resolving the political disputes that arose from the 2007 elections.

The Kenyan Supreme Court must therefore not only be seen as non-partisan as regards the current presidential petition, but must ensure that the elections reflect the will of the people. Most importantly the court must uphold the rule of law in its pronouncements.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.