I respect Kenya's Supreme Court Justices but I beg to disagree with the Justices. They rendered a bad decision on Saturday. Here are 6 reasons why.
First, given the highly charged political atmosphere, they should have stayed above the fray, instead of inserting themselves into it by declaring or confirming Kenyatta or Odinga as the winner. Now they risk being seen as "compromised" or "partisan," favoring one candidate over the other.
Second, the SC ordered a re-tally of votes from 22 polling stations out of a total of 33,400. The sample was too small. Admittedly, the Supreme Court had only 6 days to make a ruling and, further, CORD (the Odinga camp) may have suggested a scrutiny of those 22 polling stations. However, if that small sample revealed evidence of irregularities, logic suggests that the large remainder must also contain irregularities that must also be scrutinized. If a portion of the meat is spoilt, would you cut it off and eat the rest?
Third, the decision does not erase the widespread suspicion that there were nefarious attempts to manipulate the results and rig the election. It is a bit of a stretch to attribute the irregularities to "clerical" or "human error." How does one explain:
1. The sudden break-down of IT or electronic transmission of results, necessitating manual tabulation?
2. The break-down of biometric equipment, necessitating voting without biometric verification?
3. The mysterious expansion of over 1 million voters in the electoral register for the presidential election but not for the parliamentary?
I am afraid, these suspicions will linger and no one knows what they will morph into.
Fifth, the Supreme Court decision does not ease but would rather exacerbate tension in the country. Kenya is also deeply polarized along tribal and religious lines. Gikuyus voted for Kenyatta, Kalenjin for Ruto and Luo for Odinga. Religion or tribal politics is a very dangerous proposition in any African country. In Kenya, there is a perception that the Gilkuyus have dominated both the political and economic scenes. Of Kenya's three presidents since independence in 1963, two – Jomo Kenyatta and Mwai Kibaki -- have been Gikuyu; Daniel arap Moi is Kalenjin. Further, the Kenyatta family are the largest land owners in Kenya and among the richest in Africa.
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