Keny­atta has crushed democ­racy

The Week Middle East - - News -

The his­toric de­ci­sion by Kenya’s Supreme Court to an­nul the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in Au­gust came as a shock, says Pa­trick Gathara. We all knew Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s vic­tory was marred by polling chi­canery – the sur­prise was that some­one in author­ity would defy the peo­ple who run our “Ponzi state”. Alas, last month’s re-run has just made mat­ters worse. When it be­came clear that it would be no cleaner than the first, the main op­po­si­tion can­di­date, Raila Odinga, boy­cotted it. The Supreme Court judges might have or­dered it to be post­poned, had not four of them failed to turn up to a cru­cial ses­sion. Per­haps they were bribed; they were cer­tainly in­tim­i­dated. Keny­atta, af­ter all, had launched a fren­zied attack on the courts, call­ing the judges “ban­dits”, and ac­cus­ing them of a “ju­di­cial coup”. His al­lies in par­lia­ment then changed the elec­toral laws to make it im­pos­si­ble for an­other pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to ever be an­nulled. But all this has de­stroyed Keny­atta’s le­git­i­macy. In last week’s poll, a mere third of the elec­torate turned out to vote, down from nearly 80% in Au­gust. Vi­o­lence is in­creas­ing: rights ac­tivists say po­lice have killed more than 60 peo­ple in op­po­si­tion strongholds. The root and branch re­form of Kenya’s “Ponzi state” seems as far away as ever.

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