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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid