NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has welcomed the Supreme Court judgement in the presidential petition saying that the court exhibited the highest standards of professionalism.
In a statement from its communications manager Tabitha Mutemi, the IEBC said that the case was precedent-setting and that it will guide future petitions.
“This is the first presidential petition to be filed before this court. The court has demonstrated a high level of professionalism by listening impartially to the litigants through their counsel. It is a historic case and the ruling is both a precedent and a landmark decision which will guide future elections in our country, Kenya. One of the core values of the IEBC is commitment to the respect for the rule of law. The commission is bound to respect and obey the decision of the highest court in the land and we will do so,” read the statement.
The commission also applauded Prime Minister Raila Odinga for moving to court to resolve the election dispute and urged Kenyans to remain united after the ruling “as there were no winners and losers in the case.”
“Kenyans should remain united and peaceful. This case is a classic example of how far Kenya has matured democratically. In a special way, we wish to thank all Kenyans for the large turnout. 86 percent voter turnout is a reflection of the commitment and seriousness attributed by voters to the election, an indication of their connection with matters of governance in this country. Just like all Kenyans voted peacefully, we call upon them again to maintain peace and calm following the ruling,” IEBC said.
The commission said that it was conducting an audit of the process in relation to the challenges experienced with the aim of making future elections efficient.
“Various lessons were learnt arising from the challenges that were observed by the commission. We are conducting our internal audit and we want to assure all Kenyans that we shall incorporate the recommendations that will arise from the said audit structural, technical and organisational,” the statement further read.
Diverse reactions greeted the Supreme Court verdict from lawyers representing the various parties in the petition.
Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi who represented IEBC chairman Issack Hassan reacting soon after the verdict, saying he was satisfied with the ruling.
He said that the team representing Raila Odinga had not provided the court with hard evidence to make the court rule otherwise.
“The court has done the right thing, there was no fact brought before court to show that IEBC bungled the election,” he said.
Attorney General Githu Muigai who was admitted to the case as amicus curiae insisted that Kenya had won in terms of furthering constitutionalism.
“This is a good day for the country, our country is stronger, our democracy is firmer and we should be happy that the Supreme Court intervened in such a significant manner and reached a unanimous decision,” said the AG.
Lawyer Kethi Kilonzo who represented the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AFRCOG) also conceding to the verdict, said that the country had to move forward after the decision.
She says that it had set precedent in the adjudication of presidential election disputes and that it set example to lower courts to dispose matters before them in good time.
“I’m happy, if for nothing else, that the court has completed the task within time and the country can move on; it is a signal that the country is growing and the constitution is working,” she said.