Kenya’s present day democratic process in dilemma

By David Indeje / Published October 24, 2017 | 4:32 pm



2017 Elections That Defined Democracy in Africa and Going Forward

Kenya has consolidated its culture on elections through its electoral system, but each election year it seems there is a long way to go in the democratic process.

The electoral system has not radically changed.

For instance, since the new constitutional dispensation, it provides for the delineation of boundaries on the basis of population size, among other factors. Still, the system requires further reforms for it to sufficiently contribute to democratic governance.

Currently, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is at a crossroads.

Commissioner Roselyn Akombe resigned from her job, eight days before October 26 repeat presidential election.

In a statement, Akombe said the repeat presidential election as currently constituted cannot meet the basic expectations of a free, fair and credible election.

“We need the Commission to be courageous and speak out, that this election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of a CREDIBLE election. Not when the staff is getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results.”

Consequently, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said under the current conditions, he cannot guarantee the credibility of October 26 repeat presidential election. “I am convinced that without critical changes in the key secretariat staff, we may not have a free, fair, and credible election,” he had said.

In its quest for a solution to this governance dilemma, the IEBC chair tried to hold a dialogue with the two political rivals but no amicable solution was arrived at.

Chebukati said he would preside over the poll.

Read: 10 things IEBC will do differently on the 26th of October 2017 

Two days to the polls, a lot is yet to be completed.


Kenya Supreme Court

Court cases

Cases relating to October 26 repeat presidential election will be given priority on Wednesday besides it having been declared a public holiday, Chief Justice David Maraga has said.

In a statement Mr Maraga said, “The Presiding Judges of the Constitutional and Judicial Review Division have informed me that they have matters related to the Presidential Elections on 26th October, 2017 which they had scheduled to dispose of on 25th October, 2017,” said the CJ

“The Judges of the two above mentioned Divisions have my authority to sit on 25 Oct. to dispose of those matters,” he added.

Khalef Khalifa, Samuel Mohochi and Gacheke Gachuhi moved to court seeking to stop the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from conducting the repeat presidential election on Thursday, 26th October.

According to the three, the electoral body has inadequately prepared  for the polls and its staff face intimidation which may lead to prejudiced outcome of the election.

They argue that, the withdrawal of NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga and Deputy Kalonzo Musyoka triggered the vacation of the fresh presidential election by operation of law.

The CJ has directed the petitioners  to file their submissions by Tuesday 6pm.


On the other hand, Justice John Mativo of  the High Court dismissed a case in which activist Okiya Omutata was seeking for the establishment of a caretaker government.

Justice John Mativo said the case did not fall within the jurisdiction of the High Court.

Further, Justice Chacha Mwita dismissed Pokot South MP David Pkosing case that sought the court to compel Raila Odinga to participate in Thursday’s election.

Justice Mwita said the prayers sought by Pkosing did not fall under the high court’s jurisdiction.

He ruled that no court can force anyone to participate in any election or political position, adding that the duo were within their rights when they withdrew their candidature. “I am not satisfied that it reaches the threshold of a petition…the issues in this petition do not belong to this court. This court is not in charge of presidential elections and cannot say anything on it… it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”

“It is is his right and can only be enjoyed by him. No one, not even the court, can force one to exercise their right…that will be a violation of the person’s right,” he added.


Wafula Chebukati, IEBC Chair

On Monday, foreign envoys  said they respect the right of NASA candidates Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka to withdraw their candidacies, ‘but regret their decision’.

According to the envoys, “ The new election must be carried out in accordance with the Constitution and court order, but it is vital that it be credible and be held in a competitive, peaceful, and participatory environment.”

They also noted that the deteriorating political environment was undermining preparations for the new presidential election.

 “Inflammatory rhetoric, attacks on institutions, and growing insecurity all make holding a credible and fair poll more difficult.  IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe raised serious concerns that deserve attention and require action,” they said.

Subsequently, the International Crisis Group has called for a delay in the election. “The election commission should seek from the Supreme Court a 30-45 day delay to the vote.”

“Proceeding under current conditions would deepen Kenya’s ethnic cleavages and prolong a stalemate that has already claimed dozens of lives and come at a high economic cost,” they add.

The Group says Wafula Chebukati, the IEBC chair, “Should petition the Supreme Court for a limited extension of 30 to 45 days, which would allow the election to be rescheduled without violating the constitution.”

The Carter Center also has reiterated the same calling for short delay of Kenya election ‘If sanctioned by the Supreme Court’.

“If sanctioned by the Supreme Court, the main political leaders should signal their support for a short delay in the elections to allow space for renewed dialogue and to agree on any additional electoral reforms necessary to enable credible elections,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

According to IEBC data, the number of eligible voters in Kenya’s electoral stands at 19,611,423.

The Supreme Court of Kenya  nullified the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president of Kenya upholding the petitions of his closest challenger Raila Odinga and ordered a new vote in 60 days.

In the Aug 8. Polls,  IEBC had declared Uhuru winner of the presidential vote after he garnered 8,203,290 (54.27 per cent) votes against Mr Raila’s 6,762, 224 (44.74 per cent).




About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_IndejeDavid can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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