Violation of electoral process still a challenge, says Prof Ghai

Blatant violation of electoral processes and the Constitution remain a big hurdle to fair and credible polls, constitutional law scholar Yash Pal Ghai has said.

Even as the country prepares for the 2017 General Election, Prof Ghai said it was unfortunate that the Constitution continues to be violated by the country's top leadership.

Prof Yash Pal Ghai (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Speaking during the launch of the publication 'New Constitution, Same Old Challenges: Reflection on Kenya's 2013 General Elections' by the Society for International Development (SID) yesterday, Ghai said electoral malpractices had become a culture in Kenya.

"No institution can respect the Constitution if the President, his deputy and the National Assembly Speaker do not respect the same," he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has, in the recent past, been at the receiving end for blatant disregard of the Constitution. For instance, on the teachers' pay rise, he declared that his government would not give the 50-60 per award by the court.

He was also accused of violating the Constitution when he directed police recruits to report for training against a court order. He later backtracked the directive following pressure from the public.

Making reference to the 2007 and 2013 disputed presidential polls, Ghai said the electoral process in Kenya continues to be marred by electoral malpractices.

He revisited his denied petition in the 2013 disputed presidential election, in which he had applied to be enjoined as amicus curiae (friend of the court), saying it was not fair since Attorney General Githu Muigai's application was accepted.

Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar claimed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was too weak to preside over any election in the country.

Mr Omar said in the absence of a strong and credible electoral body, police "took charge" and would always work for the incumbency.

He also alleged that the revamped National Youth Service was being prepared for the next general poll.

The publication highlighted several issues from the credibility of the last polls to campaign financing.

It says although there were several institutional reforms before of the elections, the results were not different from the ones conducted before the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.

"The manner in which the 2013 General Election was conducted did not show evidence of any remarkable departure from what was previously experienced despite the raft of legal and institutional reforms carried out," it says.