Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has said today’s decision of the Kenyan Supreme Court nullifying the country’s recent presidential election, is a reflection of “due process being followed and the rule of law prevailing”.
In a statement, the Secretary-General urged all Kenyans to remain calm and peaceful as they consider the judgment.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had previously said that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta had won the election of 8 August 2017 by 1.4 million votes.
However, the Supreme Court said in a ruling today, 1 September 2017, that the election was not conducted according to the Constitution and the result was therefore “invalid, null and void”. A new election will have to be held within the next 60 days.
In response, Commonwealth Secretary-General Scotland said: “I encourage all Kenyans to remain calm and peaceful. The Commonwealth stands ready to assist in whatever way is deemed helpful.”
The Secretary-General contrasted the reaction to last month’s 2017 election to that of ten years ago, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds in post-election violence.
“Kenya is maturing as a democracy. In 2007, people who disagreed with the election result took to the streets, resulting in widespread death and destruction. This year, those who disagreed went to the courts for a ruling. That represents real progress in governance and adherence to the Constitution,” she said.
The 8 August election was observed by a team of Commonwealth election observers led by the former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama. In their interim statement, issued on 10 August, the observers commenting on polling day activities said the opening, voting, closing and counting process up to that point was “credible, transparent and inclusive”.
In his capacity as Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former President Mahama encouraged political leaders who were challenging the result to utilise appropriate legal avenues to address their grievances.
The group’s final report on the election will be published following the conclusion of the electoral process.