News / Africa

    Kenyan High Court Rules on Election Dates

    Young Kenyan wears shirt bearing name of ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in Angatta Barrioko, where there was post-election violence, April 2010 (file photo).
    Young Kenyan wears shirt bearing name of ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in Angatta Barrioko, where there was post-election violence, April 2010 (file photo).

    Kenya’s High Court has ruled that Kenyans should vote in presidential and parliamentary elections by March, 2013, which is 60 days after the end of the current parliament's five-year term.

    But the much-awaited election's exact date, which was contested due to requirements in the country’s new constitution, remains undecided.

    The court also left open the possibility that Kenyans could line up to vote any time in 2012, so long as there is a signed agreement between the president and prime minister to dissolve parliament. According to the justices, such an election would have to be held within 60 days of dissolution.

    The ruling follows months of petitions and arguments over the exact date, and, in issuing the decree, Justice Isaac Lenaola acknowledged that not all Kenyans might agree with it.

    "We are conscious that our findings may be unpopular with a section of Kenyans who have perceived notions about the elections," said Lenaola. "But we hasten to remind Kenyans that our undertaking is not to write or [override] the constitution to suit popular opinion. Our duty is to interpret the constitution in a manner that remains faithful to its objectives."

    The new constitution says general elections are to take place on the second Tuesday of August every five years. But the clause in question has been interpreted to mean that parliament's current term must be respected, and that the August date kicks in for the following elections.

    The date has become a symbol of sorts for how Kenyans gauge whether or not the government is serious about implementing massive political reforms outlined in the new constitution.

    The constitution was adopted in August 2010, more than two years after the country erupted in ethnic violence following the bitterly-disputed 2007 presidential poll. More than 300,000 people were displaced in the violence, and some 1,300 others killed.

    With the help of mediator and former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, presidential rivals Mwai Kibaki and Ralia Odinga forged a power-sharing government that has held together despite recurring tensions.

    George Wainaina, chairman of the National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, says he thinks the High Court may have been swayed by politicians who wanted to hang onto office for as long as they could.

    "To be honest with you, I think the judgment to some extent has an element of politics in it," said Wainaina. "I would definitely have thought that the constitution, or the people who are working on the constitution, must have looked into this situation and set it for August of this year."

    Charles Nyachae, chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Commission, which last year announced that general elections would be held on August 14, said he is satisfied with today's ruling.

    "As far as I’m concerned, what was important was that the court addresses the issues from the perspective of the constitution, which they have done," he said. "If in the process by reason of the result of their judgment, politicians find themselves with additional time in parliament, good luck to them."

    The International Criminal Court has indicted six prominent Kenyans for their alleged planning of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. The court is currently reviewing their cases.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora