Monday, 25 March 2013

Supreme court orders recount in some areas

Kenya's Supreme Court on Monday ordered a recount of votes in some constituencies in the country's March 4 presidential election.

Related article:Trust in Kenya's top judge is tested by election challenge.

Whatever Mutunga rules, upholding Uhuru Kenyatta's victory or deciding in Odinga's favor, he will face a tough job convincing the losers that his court has not again played politics. He has already faced some sniping from critics who suggest he is too close to Odinga and question his ability to be impartial.
But Mutunga's background as a lawyer who was detained in the 1980s for challenging the autocratic government at that time means he may stand a better chance than predecessors in ensuring his final ruling, due by March 30, wins popular acceptance.
"People have never had as much faith in the chief justice as they do in Willy Mutunga," said John Githongo, a former anti-corruption official turned whistleblower. "Before now there has never been this level of confidence in the judiciary."

Maina Kiai, who co-founded the Kenya Human Rights Commission with Mutunga during those years abroad, told Reuters the chief justice, who he said had grown up poor in an unequal society, stood by the same values that spurred his early activism.
"He has been a resolute defender of human rights and democracy, he's for social justice and his focus is very much on lifting the country so everyone has an equal opportunity," said Kiai, who has also challenged Kenyatta's win in a separate suit by civil society group Africa Centre for Open Governance.

Two weeks before the vote, Mutunga said had received threats from the Mungiki criminal gang. The group wanted to prevent any obstacles to a presidential bid by Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
"Let no individual, group, candidate or supporter imagine that cowardly and dark acts such as these will cower us," Mutunga told a news conference.

He has a rock-steady history for which he has paid a very high personal price," said former anti-graft czar Githongo. "That gives him a level of credibility and legitimacy going into this that is not shared by anyone else

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