Kenya’s Election Results Annulled: Progress or Setback?

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Much to everyone’s surprise the Kenyan Supreme court ruled in a 4-2 decision to annul the August 2017 elections where Uhuru Kenyatta had emerged as the winner. The discrepancies began when Mr. Chris Msando the head of the information technology division of the electoral commission was found murdered a week before the election.

There were reports of ballots that did not have a watermark raising the question of ballot tampering. Kenya requires that electronic results be validated against the paper ballot to reduce election fraud. This is another example of an African country unable to hold credible elections.

The opposition hailed this as a great day for democracy across Africa. The opposition party headed by Raila Odinga saw the election as the failure of one form of government was challenged by the judicial branch. It highlighted the independence of the Supreme Court which ruled on the basis of the evidence that was presented to it. Judicial independence is an important aspect of democracy across the continent. However, the decision may cause leaders across the continent to fill their own Supreme Courts with loyalists and set democracy backwards. How Kenyatta deals with the Supreme Court remains to be seen however; if he wants his place in Kenyan history he must move forward with the agenda that he campaigned on.

The election is expensive and instead of Kenya moving forward they are broiled in election disputes and losing momentum on the success that the country had achieved. Kenya is one of the technologically advanced nations in Africa boasting of mPesa the mobile banking platform that has been copied by US banks, Kiira motors, solar recharging gadgets and so forth. In 2016, Kenya was Africa’s 9th largest economy with GDP of $70.5BN at independence in 1960 GDP was $792MM.

We hope the new elections will help to settle the leadership dispute so that Kenya can keep flourishing.

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