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Supreme Court ruling a set back to democratic ideals, says President Kenyatta

The President, accompanied by the Deputy President William Ruto, was addressing a delegation of leaders of pastoral communities from eight counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Marsabit, Mandera, Narok, Samburu, and Wajir/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 — President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the August 8 Presidential election sets back the democratic ideals for which Kenyans fought over many years.

He said the ruling by the Supreme Court was inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution which Kenyans passed in 2010. He said that when Kenyans passed the new constitution, they wished their will to prevail, and not that of a few individuals.

The President, accompanied by the Deputy President William Ruto, was addressing a delegation of leaders of pastoral communities from eight counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Marsabit, Mandera, Narok, Samburu, and Wajir.

“What happened is a judicial coup,” President Kenyatta said. “We have a constitution which has placed the interests of wananchi far above those of individuals; we have a constitution which has curtailed the powers of the Presidency, so that the will and wishes of the citizens would be respected,” said the President.

The President said it was unfortunate that in a democratic country, which had long encouraged respect of citizens’ rights, a few individuals could overturn the will of Kenyans, clearly expressed in their vote.

“In a democratic and free nation, where citizens’ rights are to be respected, we are now being told their will doesn’t matter; … wananchi who thought that the constitution guarantees their sovereign will are being told it doesn’t matter; it’s only few individuals who can decide for the 45 million people who their leaders can be,” said the President.

The President pointed out that the new constitution was expected to entrench democratic ideals, where the will of the majority would be respected, and where resources would be devolved to improve the lives of all Kenyans.

The President said the new constitution aimed to ensure that no one was powerful enough to silence anyone who wished to express themselves freely. He faulted the Supreme Court ruling, saying it amounted to a judicial coup, in which a few individuals had overturned the will of the majority.

“As Kenyans, we have witnessed what has never happened in any democratic country in the world. We thought we were instilling democracy as a result of our new constitution; we were entrenching devolution to ensure equity in the disbursement of national resources so that no Kenyan is left behind,” said the President.

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The President singled out Germany, whose Supreme Court has ordered that its election be conducted manually so that the will of its people is accurately reflected.

He said that if Germany, which is a more advanced democracy than Kenya, could conduct its election manually, there was no reason for Kenya’s Supreme Court not to recount the ballots, instead of overturning the will of Kenyans on technological processes and formalities.

“ If then there was a problem, then let them also cancel election[s] of other candidates,” said the President.

“They refused to check on the source document which would have shown the truth. The source document was the ballot paper”, he continued.

President Kenyatta assured Kenyans that the country was intact, and that the government was working; he insisted that he looked forward to the repeat election whose date has been announced by the IEBC.

The President urged the pastoralist communities to ensure they came out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right during the repeat election.

“ We need to show them nobody can override the will of the people; we will not do it through violence but … by casting votes on the date to be announced by IEBC,” said the President.

Deputy President said the ruling, which was read yesterday, left Kenyans with more questions than answers, as the judges who had all the documents did not go through them to check the facts.

“The court said yesterday they had no problem with numbers: you won fair and square. If numbers had no problem, even these forms which were said [to have] had no serial, signature and rubber stamp were okay, then why annul the Presidential election?” asked the Deputy President.

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The Deputy President added that to claim that a voter’s decision had to be qualified by the Judiciary before it counted was to give way to judicial tyranny.

Aden Duale, leader of the Jubilee majority in Parliament, maintained that the ruling was laced with misguided politics: the opposition, he said, had misled themselves and the country by forgetting that the President’s term continued until another was sworn in.

“Article 142 (1) says the President shall hold office for a term beginning on the date on which the President was sworn in, and ending when the person next elected President in accordance with article 136 (2) (a) is sworn in” said the leader of Majority.

Other speakers included Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai, Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dulo, Eldas Mp Adan Keynan, and Samburu Women Rep Maison Leshomo who assured the President of their support.


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