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African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Statement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the presidential election in Kenya

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), particularly through the Commissioner Rapporteur responsible for the situation of human rights in the Republic of Kenya – Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, is closely monitoring the developments in the Republic of Kenya, following the August 2017 election.

The Commission commends the Kenyan people for casting their votes peacefully and freely. The Commission further welcomes the resort of Kenyan political actors to established legal processes for addressing allegations of irregularities and illegalities in the conduct of the 2017 presidential election, inter alia, in the transmission of results.

As a demonstration of the significance of the role of the judiciary as the independent arbiter of disputes, the Commission commends the Supreme Court of Kenya for discharging its role by uholding the requirements of the Constitution and the applicable electoral law on the organization of elections in Kenya. The Commission further welcomes the IEBC’s invitation to the Director of Public Prosecutions to commence investigations into criminality around the election.

The Commission, however, notes with concern the statements attacking the judges of the Supreme Court who voted for the annulment of the presidential election, which are inimical to the constitutional guarantee of judicial independence, and the reports of ensuing increased ethnic tension in the country.

The Commission is further concerned by the lack of consensus and deepening polarization on the establishment of the conditions for credible election including through rebuilding public trust in the IEBC to conduct the re-run of the presidential election, free from irregularities and in full compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and the applicable electoral law. 

In this regard, the Commission:

1.     Calls on the Supreme Court of Kenya to expeditiously issue the detailed judgement on the election petition containing the reasons for the decision and dissents, bearing in mind the limited timeline constitutionally stipulated for the re-run, and as well, to give specific guidance on how the illegalities and irregularities could be remedied ahead of the fresh election;

2.     Strongly urges the IEBC:

a.     To take steps to facilitate a speedy and full inquiry into the events surrounding the election and the illegalities and irregularities that led the Supreme Court to declare the annulment of the presidential election, and to ensure accountability by the perpetrators;

b.     to take all necessary measures to address and eliminate the causes of the illegalities and irregularities ahead of the fresh election with consultation of all relevant stakeholders and their validation of the reform process so as to guarantee strict compliance with the legally established requirements; and

c.      to adopt an open, consultative and all-inclusive approach regarding the convening of the new election including participation of candidates and to ensure full transparency in all the processes and measures to be undertaken in the conduct of the fresh election including concerning the technology and other systems to be utilized in the transmission of results and the general management of the election;

The Commission further:

3.     Reminds the Government of Kenya that it bears responsibility to create the conditions for the IEBC to gain the legitimacy and confidence of the people in its ability to conduct the re-run of the election with integrity and credibility;

4.     Calls on the Government of Kenya to fully respect and ensure respect by all members of society of the independence of the judiciary including by ensuring that public officials abstain from statements attacking the members of the judiciary; and

5.     Urges all candidates, political actors and other stakeholders to uphold tolerance and mutual respect and act within the rule of law, and to work collectively towards ensuring that the fresh election is free, fair, credible and devoid of any irregularities and illegalities.

The Commission will continue to monitor developments in the period leading up to and during the re-run of the presidential election, and calls on all Kenyans to ensure that the presidential re-run is conducted peacefully and in a manner free from all forms of violence and/or threats thereof.

Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, Commissioner Rapporteur for the Republic of Kenya


Banjul, 18 September 2017?