Founding President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has jumped to the defence of international observer missions who monitored the August 8 Kenya polls and endorsed the results, after the Supreme Court in the East African country declared those same results null and void on Friday, 1 September.
“By the way, observers had no way of verifying IT-enhanced rigged elections – not at the time of collating results electronically. The Kenyan electoral commission messed up the IT system,” Mr Cudjoe said in a post on Friday, September 1.
His comment is in sharp contrast to the view of a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte, who has said that the annulment of the presidential results casts doubts on the credibility of international observers.
Citing irregularities, the Supreme Court said a new poll should be held within 60 days.
The election commission had declared incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the winner of last month’s election.
But the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, claimed that the commission’s IT system had been hacked to manipulate the results.
After the Supreme Court declared its ruling, opposition presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, said: “This is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa.”
Reading the decision – reached by a majority of four to two among the judges – Chief Justice David Maraga said the 8 August poll had not been “conducted in accordance with the constitution”, contrary to the clean bill of health given it by the various observer missions led by former US Secretary of State, John Kerry; former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and former Ghanaian President, John Mahama, who headed the Commonwealth Observer team.
John Kerry, who led the Carter Center observer mission, said: “The process that was put in place is proving its value thus far. Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Don’t let anybody besmirch that.”
The AU mission led by Mr Mbeki said it found the polls to be “largely peaceful and credible”.
The European Union, just as the Commonwealth Observer Missions, also gave the poll a clean bill of health.
However, speaking to Class91.3FM’s Dr Etse Sikanku, host of World Affairs, on Friday, 1 September minutes after the ruling, Dr Kpessah Whyte said: “We heard the international community, I mean the US former Secretary of State John Kerry, we heard Thabo Mbeki, our former President John Mahama and others were all in there and they all visited several electoral centres and pronounced this election one of the most credible in the history of that country.”
In light of the contrary view posited by the Supreme Court, Dr Kpessah Whyte said: “We need to see the details of the ruling but this ruling raises a lot of questions about the credibility of international observers and whether they really are looking at substance or they are looking at form and whether they would be relevant going into the future at all.”
In Mr Cudjoe’s view, however, for truly fair and transparent polls: “All political parties must be allowed real time access to all IT systems in every country in Africa.
“That said, the major political parties in Kenya at the moment have their work cut out but it does appear Uhuru still has an edge due to all the political permutations in that country, which begs the question, why did he allow his people to make the elections un-free? I wish my Kenyan friends good luck in the next elections. They have shown us again that there are other legitimate ways of settling disputes. My IMANI (faith) in Kenya never diminishes. Asante Sana.”