Saturday, April 19, 2014

Common Sense Approach on Kenyan Polls, By Femi Falana

Published:

Femi Falana

In 2007, the General Elections which took place in Kenya were marred by official manipulations which provoked large-scale violence  in several parts of the country.

The post-electoral violence led to the killing of over one thousand people and displacement of 500 others. Notwithstanding that the electoral crisis was instigated by the Mwai Kibaki Administration and the Kenya  Electoral Commission no public officer was recommended for sanction or prosecution.

Hence the endorsement of such official  impunity and the trial of both Kenyatta and William Ruto by the International Criminal Court have been questioned by some human rights organisations.

Even though the presumption of innocence inures in favour of all suspects standing trial before the International Criminal Court, western diplomats in Kenya have rejected the Kenyatta/Ruto joint ticket on the ground that they have been docked in the Court for crimes against humanity.

The United States of America which has bluntly refused to ratify the Rome Statute has hypocritically asked Kenyans to reject Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto at the polls slated for March 4, 2013.

So far, the people of Kenya have made it abundantly clear to the international community that the outcome of the elections will be freely determined by them.

For this reason, the Government and the western embassies in Kenya should be warned not to interfere in the democratic process in any manner whatsoever. Since Kenya is a sovereign nation the  people should be allowed to vote for candidates of their choice without threat or intimidation

All the political parties and their candidates are enjoined to ensure that the elections are devoid of violence, thuggery and rigging. In particular, the candidates should be prepared to accept the election results.

Those who may be dissatisfied with the results of the elections should be prepared  to approach the election petition tribunals for redress. However, since the success of the democratic exercise largely depends on the credibility of the process the Kenya Electoral Commission should conduct the elections  in a manner that reflects the wishes of the Kenyan voters.

Mr. Falana, former President of the African Bar Association, is also a Senior Advocate of the Nigerian Bar.

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