Some Kenyans on Wednesday lauded the decision by the Liberian Supreme Court to postpone a presidential runoff that was set for Nov. 7 over fraud allegations.
The top court in the west African state on Wednesday stayed the runoff between presidential candidate George Weah and Vice-President Joseph Boakai until a case filed by third finisher Charles Brumskine is heard and determined.
Some of the east African nation’s citizens praised the ruling, noting that Liberia’s court was following a precedent set by the Kenyan top court on Sept. 1.
Kenya’s Supreme Court cancelled the win of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Aug. 8 polls citing illegalities and irregularities, and ordered a repeat poll in 60 days.
The decision put Kenya’s democracy to test as a political standoff ensued between Kenyatta and his main rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga. A fresh poll was held on Oct. 26, which Odinga boycotted and Kenyatta was declared the winner.
Odinga has dismissed the poll, describing Kenyatta’s election as a fraud and an injustice to the Kenyan people, and claiming that only 3.5 million people voted instead of some 7.5 million declared by the electoral commission.
“If it was not for the Kenyan court, I do not think the Liberian court would have taken such a brave step,” said Hassan Mutuma, a computer system analyst in Nairobi. “We gave them the precedent, now they can follow us.
Mutuma noted that the rulings by the Liberian and Kenyan supreme courts showed the institutions have started to flex their muscles.
“It was unheard of in the past in Africa for the courts to postpone or even cancel an election because the institutions all along have been under the grip of the government in power. But this is now changing, which points to a new direction and some level of autonomy,” he added.
On social media, the Supreme Court was a hot topic as various people, including lawyers, gave their views on the Liberian court, in comparison to Kenya’s.
“Africa is on the course of redemption. It started in Kenya and now it’s spreading across the continent. Liberia’s Supreme Court has done it and another will do it,” noted Evans Injika.
“All the credit goes to our Chief Justice David Maraga and Supreme Court of Kenya judges. They set the precedence. Liberia’s Supreme Court has followed suit. Africa is uprising,” said Tina Okore, a blogger.
Lawyer Steven Ochieng said Liberia’s Supreme Court “has exercised exemplary genes of justice to the people of Liberia.”
“African nations must sow seeds of fair electoral processes,” he said.
Some Kenyans, however, pointed to the differences between the rulings of the Kenyan and Liberian supreme courts.
Perminus Muhia, another blogger, said while Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified an election, Liberia’s only postponed one, and therefore, the two cannot be treated as equal.
Advocate Nelson Havi used the opportunity to urge Kenyan apex court judges not to cow under threats, which include attempts on their lives, as they dispense justice.
It is expected that a petition may be filed at the Supreme Court to challenge Kenyatta’s win in the Oct. 26 polls. Enditem