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ELECTION 2022

Justice Ndung'u's opinion left a sour taste for justice

UREPORT
By Muhangani Shilovele | Sep 25th 2017 | 2 min read

The Supreme Court's landmark ruling that nullified the August 8 presidential results continue to reverberate across the continent and globally. As the court continues to receive an accolades and criticism in equal measure from across the political divide, one important factor that stands out conspicuously and has serious implications not only on the Supreme Court but Kenya’s judicial operations as a whole, is the dissenting judgement by Justice Njoki Ndung'u. Dissenting opinions are key and give judges an opportunity to give reasons why they disagreed with the majority. This opinion can then help the majority clarify their position.

A dissent opinion in the Supreme Court, which is the last resort in the land, can also be used as an appeal where the minority feel that the decision taken by the majority goes against the law and hopes that a similar decision in the future ruling will be different when their arguments are taken into consideration. However, Ms Ndung'u's dissenting opinion failed to serve the purpose and instead eroded her credibility and squeezed out of her the value and the esteem bestowed on her as the officer of the court. While reading her judgement, she openly demonstrated anger and bitterness with the majority ruling. In fact, the choice of language and harsh criticism of the Chief Justice over affirmation that the court would not hesitate to annul any other election if not conducted according to the dictates of the Constitution, her intonation almost bordered on intolerance, which I believe is a vice rather than a virtue for a practicing judge.

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