EU censures Raila over IEBC attacks

Union warns that undermining state institutions’ independence threatens the rule of law, democratic order and effective governance.

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga

The European Union has censored Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his opposition coalition National Super Alliance over persistent attacks on Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

At the same time, the union also took issue with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s threats to judges of the Supreme Court since the ruling that overturned his victory in the August 8 presidential election.

Raila and Kenyatta will be the only candidate in the repeat election planned for October 17.

The censorship by European Union comes at a time when NASA and Jubilee have intensified their attacks on the two independent institutions.

Yesterday, NASA announced that it would institute private criminal prosecutions against IEBC senior staff for what they termed as criminal offenses under the electoral law.

And today, Jubilee MP for Nyeri Town filed a petition at the Judicial Service Commission for the removal of Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court David Maraga.

In an interim report by its election observer mission to Kenya released yesterday, the union warns that undermining state institutions’ independence, including the judiciary, by the two leading political formations threatens the rule of law, democratic order and effective governance.

“The headline of the EU EOM’s Preliminary Statement referred to ‘parties’ forceful criticism of key institutions,’ and the report noted that “persistent criticism of the integrity and neutrality of state institutions has negatively affected confidence in the election.”

Since the election, the report notes, NASA and Jubilee have at times been undermining the IEBC and the judiciary respectively.

“NASA leaders have referred to the IEBC as being ‘taken over by criminals.’ Just after the Supreme Court ruling, President Kenyatta referred to the judges as ‘crooks’ and stated ‘I have always said, there is a problem with our judiciary though we respect it. However, we shall re-visit that.’ This has been followed by similar remarks from other Jubilee leaders,” said EU in the report.

The Union reminds the two parties that first article of Constitution of Kenya establishes a balance of power, with the judiciary, the IEBC, and other independent state organs empowered to fulfil their respective mandates.

“This includes the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) and other constitutionally independent commissions that support the sovereign power of the people of Kenya, as established in the constitution,” said the union.

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