, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has stressed the need for the political class to respect the courts and be wary of unfairly casting aspersions on their credibility with the aim of scoring political points.
He said it is the very same courts Kenyans would need to place their trust in, in the event there are disputes, a presidential petition included.
He therefore urged that a measured tone and correct channels be used where there is disgruntlement with the courts.
“If people have any disputes arising out of the elections they must resort to the courts and use the normal legal processes to address the matter,” he stated.
“In this regard, there is need for all the parties contesting the elections to respect the institutions because if there are any disputes in the end of the elections, they are going to be resolved by these state institutions.”
Only a few weeks ago President Uhuru Kenyatta, who Mbeki and the AU Election Observer Mission to the country met with on Thursday, put the Judiciary and Chief Justice David Maraga in particular on notice that the Executive was not “afraid” of them.
During their meeting, Mbeki said, President Kenyatta had however voiced a commitment to respect the outcome of the August 8 presidential election.
“President Kenyatta did say to us that he will accept the results of the elections while Raila Odinga said that they want that we should have free fair and credible elections and if that could happen, then they will accept them,” Mbeki said.
He also emphasised the need for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to deal with all complaints related to the elections expeditiously no matter how frivolous.
Mbeki who is leading the African Union observer mission to the country explained that this will ensure that everybody is satisfied with the results of the process.
“Any allegations as made by any party must be followed up and so for instance with regard to matters that relate to the IEBC, the Chairman made a commitment that they would follow up any complaint in detail not just alone but together with the parties,” he stated.
He underscored the need for all the complaints to be addressed as quickly as possible.
“There should not be any complaint of any kind which should be left unattended. It does not matter what somebody might think. They might think that it is a foolish complaint but it is not foolish for the person who is making the complaint,” he stated.
“It is important that each and every complaint must be looked at and that is why we as the observers have reported back to the various authorities including the Interior Ministry and the IEBC so that these matters can be attended to and we got that commitment.”
He was speaking during a press briefing on Saturday where he reported that all the contenders in the election want a free, fair and credible process.
“Everybody has said that it is critically important that there must be peaceful elections. Really what is inspiring to us as the African Union was this universal commitment by everybody we have met to this very objective, to ensure we have peaceful elections,” he stated.
On Friday, Mbeki met Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and expressed satisfaction with the co-operation accorded to his team with regards to a briefing on security arrangements to facilitate a free and fair election.
Other groups Mbeki is scheduled to meet are diplomats, women advocacy groups and representatives of the United Nations.