Kenya's ambassador to the US and a US-based Kenyan legal scholar have offered distinct assessments of the Kenya Supreme Court ruling that nullified President Uhuru's victory.
Speaking during the 10th annual Kenya Scholars and Studies Association in Atlanta, Georgia, Ambassador Njeru Githae and Professor Makau Mutua differed in opinion over the verdict on presidential petition. While Githae maintained that Uhuru won the August 8th election fairly, Makau hailed the decision by the Supreme Court to annul the poll.
“I can categorically say here looking you straight in the eye that the Supreme Court robbed Uhuru Kenyatta of his win and stole the election from the Kenyan people,” Ambassador Robinson Njeru Githae said.
Makau Mutua, a former law school dean and an outspoken critic of President Kenyatta, took the opposite view of the Supreme court verdict, suggesting that the election had been stolen from Raila Odinga.
“It was not just the presidential election that was invalid,” Prof Mutua said. “It was the entire election. The whole thing was rotten.”
Prof Mutua, who unsuccessfully presented his candidature for chief justice of Kenya's Supreme Court last year, also told the conference, “I was very happy I didn't get the job of chief justice because if I had ruled against Mr Kenyatta I would have been lynched in the public square.”
Ambassador Githae expressed dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court's judgment last month.
“They had no basis for coming to that conclusion,” the ambassador said in reference to the majority of justices who ruled the election invalid.
“Not a single election agent has even sworn an affidavit saying the results at a polling station were different from what was announced by the IEBC,” Githae said.
“What is important?” he asked. “The results or the transmission?” Githae asked.
Mutua, a distinguished professor and faculty scholar at a New York State University Law School, said he was stunned by the Supreme Court's action - but for a diametrically different reason.
“What is shocking to me and puts pain to the claim the ambassador is making that Jubilee won the election … is the fact that a court of essentially conservative, establishment jurists have overturned an election in Africa for the first time,” Prof Mutua said.
“They have made us proud, extremely proud,” he added. “They have established a position that is going to reverberate throughout Africa.”
Ambassador Githae lamented the way African leaders react to election lose. “The problem in Africa is that people don't accept to lose,” he said. “If you lose an election, 'it's been rigged, the election has been stolen.'”
The two were speaking on Saturday as part of a panel at the 10th annual Kenya Scholars and Studies Association.