NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday defended his less than diplomatic reaction to the nullification of his August 8 re-election by the Supreme Court of Kenya.
Addressing members of the Abagusii community who called on him at the Nakuru State Lodge, President Kenyatta said his reaction was not anything out of this world and if anything, was to be expected.
President Kenyatta who referred to the Supreme Court judges who were in favour of the nullification as “wakora” (crooks) said his anger at Chief Justice David Maraga – who hails from the Abagusii community – was justified.
“It’s true. I was really pained…. pained. How would you feel if you were asked to re-sit an exam you passed? I’m also human and I was angry, enraged by Maraga and his court. I must speak truthfully. Why should I be dishonest?”
“Let’s be honest with one another, how would you feel if you had your cow stolen only for the court to award it to the thief because the P3 was not properly filled out? Would you take daylight robbery lying down? Were you expecting me to laugh about it? I have to stand up for myself. Should I fail to do so then it would send the message that I stole the election. When a wrong is done to you, you’ve got to speak up for yourself.”
President Kenyatta’s tirades against the Chief Justice and a majority of the Supreme Court judges have met disapproval including from the Abagusii community; a section of whom have demanded an apology.
On Wednesday however, President Kenyatta said he had no apologies to make because his problem was not with Maraga as a Kisii but Maraga the judge. “When a wrong is done to you, does tribe matter?”
If that were the case, President Kenyatta said the same yard stick should be used to measure the Opposition who have on numerous occasions bayed for his Interior and Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi’s blood.
“They immediately moved to capitalise on my exception to Maraga’s judgement by campaigning in Kisii and Nyamira but isn’t Matiangi one of you? They have no leg to stand on,” he said dismissively.
In his opinion, President Kenyatta said, the prudent thing for the Supreme Court to have done was to order for a recount. “It would have been better if they directed that the ballot boxes be taken to Kasarani stadium, be opened and the ballots therein be recounted.”
His deputy William Ruto also sought to assure the community influencers that their problem lay with Raila Odinga who petitioned their win in the first place. “What case do we have with Maraga? Odinga is the one who took us to court. He started it. Even today you’ll hear him complain about this visit. As though we’ve tasked him with cleaning the dishes that will be used,” Ruto said to laughter.
It is however not only the Abagusii community which has taken issue with the threats President Kenyatta and his deputy have made against Maraga and his deputies because the Supreme Court decision did not go their way or how they thought it should.
Diplomatic missions, election observers and Maraga himself took great exception to Jubilee’s attacks on the Judiciary in the period leading up to the August 8 election where judgements concerning the exercise were not in their favour.
“We note with concern the audacity of the party as it seeks to select who hears the cases it files in court. The emerging culture of public lynching of judges and judicial officers by the political class is a vile affront to the rule of law and must be fiercely resisted,” he stated.
In a one-on-one interview with Capital FM News thereafter, President Kenyatta defended his utterances saying accountability and oversight cut both ways and the Judiciary couldn’t reasonably claim immunity from deserved criticism.
“Your judgements cannot and should not be influenced by the politics of the day and we will continue to insist that where we see that judgements have not been fair, we will continue to raise the alarm. Independence doesn’t mean that others will just stand by and watch you do the wrong thing.”