NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – The National Democratic Institute Election Observation Mission has appealed to politicians to respect the independence of the Judiciary and refrain from pressuring it.
In a statement to newsrooms Wednesday night, hours after the National Super Alliance (NASA) announced it will challenge presidential election results in court, the institute said all parties must respect judgments rendered by the courts.
“The Court has its constitutional duty to provide a full, fair and independent hearing and to render its judgment based on the rule of law for the benefit of the people of Kenya. Accordingly, the Court’s judgment should be respected by all parties,” the observer mission which issued its preliminary post-election report on August 10 stated.
In the statement, the institute’s Director of Government Relations and Communications, Jerry Hartz, underscored the importance of availing all results declaration forms for ease of analysis by members of the public and those who wish to use them in court.
Among other things, NDI had in its preliminary report urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to provide form 34As and 34Bs to facilitate those who seek to proceed to the court within timelines set in law.
“This is an even more urgent matter in light the seven-day time limit to file legal challenges concerning the announcement of the presidential election result. That deadline is Friday, August 18,” NDI asserted.
NDI’s statement came in the backdrop of a thinly veiled attack by NASA presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, who cautioned the Judiciary against “compounding problems facing the county” by issuing judgments he said favoured the government.
“Our decision to go to court constitutes a second chance for the Supreme Court. The Court can use this chance to redeem itself, or, like in 2013, it can compound the problems we face as a country,” Odinga said on Wednesday while announcing NASA’s decision to challenge presidential election results declared by IEBC at the Supreme Court.
The NDI also called upon security agencies to respect the right to life and desist from using excessive force to quell riots, even as reports by rights lobbies indicated that up to twenty people could have died in parts of Nairobi and Nyanza during protests following the Friday announcement of the General Election results.
“While political leaders must take all possible measures to maintain peaceful political expression, including any peaceful protests, security forces must do everything possible to protect lives and not use excessive force in responding to incidents. There should be a full public account of all election related deaths.”