Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has said the courageous decision by Kenyan Supreme Court to nullify the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta is a win for democracy and that Malawi should learn lesson and avoid chaotic elections in 2019.
The six-judge Supreme Court, acting on a petition from the challenger, opposition leader Raila Odinga, ruled that the breakdown of the system in which ballots were to be transferred to a publicly accessible online site rendered the results of the presidential election “invalid, null and void” and presidential election will be re-run on 17 October where only President Kenyatta and Odinga would be on the new ballot.
The decision is the first time in African history that a supreme court has upheld an opposition challenge in a presidential election and ordered a re-run.
“CHRR trusts the historic Kenyan Supreme Court decision will reverberate across African countries still embroidered in chaotic electoral laws and systems,” CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo told Nyasa Times.
He said the shock verdict in Kenya is a painful slap in the face of Malawi electoral laws.
“As a lesson, Malawi electoral laws must be urgently reviewed to provide enough redress mechanisms for complainants before the winner is declared or inaugurated,” Mtambo said.
“Malawians don’t deserve a repeat of 2014 scenario when the winner was announced at mid-night despite a compelling demand to adequately look into cases of numerous irregularities that crept into the electoral process,” he added.
CHRR also calls upon the government, law makers and stakeholders to make swift steps on the 50+1 electoral system ahead of the 2019 polls.
“Simple majority does not have any room in a true democratic dispensation. Elected leaders should be supported by legitimacy from voters, not out-of-tune laws,” Mtambo said.
He said the Kenyan Supreme Court has done a major service to democracy in Africa and the rule of law, and has provided a needed lesson to international observers.
Daniel Wesangula , features writer who specialises in human rights, wrote in The Guardian that that the ruling will come to represent the dawn of a brave new judiciary that will not be afraid to stand for truth in the face of an intimidating executive.
Too often in Kenya, as is in many other African countries, the line between the two is a distant blur, with the judiciary widely used to rubber-stamp the whims of the executive, he wrote.