By Andrew Mwenda
On September first, I posted on this page that the Kenya Supreme Court had opened a pandora’s box by annulling the presidential elections. I also predicted that any re-election would be marred by worse irregularities and controversies than the first one, making an even bigger mockery of the process.
I do not want to celebrate and chest-thumb how correct my predictions were. Yet I have to comment on this process. With over 70 people dead, violence and mayhem spreading across the country, the opposition boycotting the election forcing voter turnout to fall to 34%, this fresh election has turned out to be 20 times worse than the first. It is clear that the opposition will return to court to challenge it. So what should the Supreme Court do?
The court placed itself in a difficult situation where they have to either annul this election or reverse their precedent and allow a more unfree and unfair process than the previous one to hold. Should the court annul this election as well, I predict there will be violence this time from the supporters of Jubilee, who will now add to the violence of the supporters of NASA.
In such circumstances, Kenya will not have another election. Instead the most likely possibility is that President Uhuru Kenyatta, supported by the army, will suspend the constitution and order martial law to keep the country stable. The supporters of Raila Odinga will not accept this and will take up arms, beginning with those in the army and police breaking ranks. The future of Kenya holds in a balance.
The only solution to this conundrum is not the courts but political bargaining. Uhuru and Raila need to meet, organize a power sharing arrangement. Yet the supporters of Jubilee will not accept Raila using courts and street violence to force himself into power. They will see it as yielding to blackmail. So this reasonable solution is unlikely to work. So now Kenya is on the slippery slope to martial law.