Kenyans must refuse to be part of attack on public institutions

A bad workman quarrels with his tools, and a poor husbandman with the workers. In Kenya, we quarrel with our tools every election season.

When it is not with the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), it is with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). 

We have complained against successive sets of election officials for three decades. We have hounded each set out of office and brought in new ones.

We complained against the Zacchaeus Chesoni team in 1992 and 1997. In 2008, we screamed the Samuel Kivuitu team out of office.

While departing a sad man, Kivuitu told us that someday we would realise that he was never the problem.  

We replaced ECK with IEBC. We installed Isaak Hassan and his team. Five years later, we wanted to eat them up.

We forced them to resign. We brought in Wafula Chebukati and his six colleagues. It has not been any different.

The commissions and commissioners have come and gone. We have not been satisfied – at least not all of us at once.

We must ask, what is the constant factor? Whatever the answer, there lies the problem. 

We have also never been happy with the Judiciary. In 2007 we refused to go to court.

In 2012, we called the Willy Mutunga led Supreme Court “a sham court.” Although those responsible for these untidy remarks ate humble pie and apologised to the court, nothing else changed. The Mutunga team adjudicated the 2013 presidential election petition. 

The losing side reported that it did not agree with the bench. Mutunga was vilified to no mean end.  

He made way for a new Chief Justice ahead of the 2017 elections.

The Supreme Court nullified the August 8 presidential election. Some referred to the court as ‘Maraga and his crooks.’ Others boycotted the repeat election.

And now we are here, screaming Chebukati’s name. We are vilifying the Supreme Court and shouting, ‘Shame on the Judiciary!’

We are threatening to ‘mobilise one million people to storm the Judiciary and remove the judges of the Supreme Court.’ Does misguided narcissistic ego get worse than this? Is it possible that everyone, except one voice, could be wrong for 30 years?

Does it look more like the case of a bad workman quarrelling with his tools?  

Negative post-election energy seems to be the norm, the actors the same. Earlier in the week, Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga, rejected an invitation to attend the inauguration of Dr Ruto as Kenya’s fifth president. He was within his rights.

However, to vilify the Judiciary as has been done is sad. Azimio’s mud slings against the Supreme Court undermine the people’s confidence in an entity that has served this country well for the past 12 years. Mr Odinga’s legal team should know this.  It should advise the client.  

Elsewhere, Siaya Governor James Orengo told a funeral gathering, in some village, that the seven judges were his professional juniors.  That they do not understand the law.

Azimio presidential running mate Martha Karua has said that she is going to the East African Court of Appeal, to interrogate the decision of the Supreme Court.

Make no mistake, the court is under assault. The worst would seem to be still on the way. 

Those who seek justice before the courts are called upon to exercise common decency, and respect the integrity of the Judiciary. Justice cannot be seen to be done only when the courts return the verdict that one side wish for.

Rather than vilify independent institutions, Azimio should find out what went wrong with their election strategy. Umpires cannot be wrong, just because some team did not win.

Meanwhile, the matter having been adjudicated in the highest court in the land, Kenyans must refuse to be recruited into acts that hold the court in contempt, regardless of the agency. 

Dr Muluka is a strategic communications advisor.