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Maraga and Kriegler Point Out Loopholes in Kenya’s Electoral system

Two prominent judges on Monday warned Kenya of the political risks it faces for failing to cure the weaknesses in its electoral systems.

Chief Justice David Maraga raised the flag on gaps in the Kenyan law relating to an annulment of a presidential election and the withdrawal of a candidate from the top race ahead of a repeat poll.

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Mr Maraga faulted the law for not outlining clear legal provisions of what happens whenever a candidate quits the race before a rerun (Just like the way Mr Odinga did before the October 26th repeat election).

“Whereas the law is clear about what happens should a candidate die in between, the lack of specificity in regard to withdrawal leaves us with uncomfortable grey areas that require legislative attention,” noted Justice Maraga as quoted by The Standard.

On the other hand,Retired South African judge Johann Kriegler who probed the flawed 2007 polls, warned the nation against seeking political problems in the corridors of justice.

Mr Kriegler said Kenya has become too obsessed with the law as an end to political disputes, thus triggering unending power struggles.

Addressing advocates yesterday during the Law Society of Kenya Colloquium (conference) on the Presidential Election Petitions last year, Kriegler asked lawyers to de-legalise polls and seek political solutions to electoral disputes.

While refering to the 2007 presidential poll, Kriegler observed that the solution to electoral rows didn’t lie with the then Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), or retired President Mwai Kibaki or Mr Odinga.
Instead, he ascribed the problem that has engulfed Kenya’s democracy and elections to the political styles of Kenyans.
Kriegler’s commission found there were too many electoral malpractices from several parts of the country perpetrated by all the contesting parties to conclusively establish which candidate won the 2007 presidential polls.

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The malpractices included vote buying,bribery, intimidation and ballot stuffing by all parties, as well as incompetence on the part of the embattled Electoral Commission, which was shortly thereafter disbanded by Parliament.


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