Kenyatta has crushed democracy
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.