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February 22, 2019

Justice terrorises evil-doers

IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati speaks to the press at the National Tallying Centre in Bomas, August 9, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati speaks to the press at the National Tallying Centre in Bomas, August 9, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI

Responsible parents reprimand children when they bring home suspect goods. Good parents know, and they ought to know, such goods may well have been stolen.

Irresponsible parents may keep the goods, but they risk being accused of handling stolen property. Ultimately, also, such parents fail the test of nurture. This is how impunity thrives. This is how the social moral fibre atrophies.

Some children, with such wayward upbringing, grow up as spoilt brats. They become thieves because of the way they were brought up. Their transgressions are tolerated. They grow up with a deficient conscience.

Disciplined domestic cats know it is wrong to bring a skunk home. When they kill rats, they take the rodents out. There is discipline even among felines. This is how cats build trust with their owners.

The IEBC has always brought skunks home. It is addicted to abuse of public trust, without fear of accountability.

The apogee of this mischief was the 2007 General Election. The chairman of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya, Samuel Kivuitu, declared a winner of the presidential election without verifying the results.

A probe commission chaired by South African judge Johannes Kriegler confirmed Kivuitu’s confessions of erring. A conspiracy of the few had subverted the will of the many.

PNU presidential candidate Mwai Kibaki, using state machinery, welcomed the skunk the ECK gifted him. He declared himself ‘duly elected’. The result — the numbers — was more important than the fraudulent process.

The subsequent stench of impunity wrought deaths, murders, injuries, displacement and dispossession to hundreds of thousands of Kenyans. The cost of the 2008 post-election violence was massive.

The crime against the people and democracy, by a few ECK commissioners, and a complicit secretariat, was not punished.

We are a country that has always rewarded impunity. No public institution has been bold enough to stand up for right. Perpetrators have always been rewarded for aberrations against the people.

Executive capture of the electoral commission again messed up the presidential election in 2013. The subsequent petition died on arrival at the Supreme Court.

A captured Judiciary played ball to protect the people against justice. The electoral offences of 2013 went unpunished because the Supreme Court at that time lacked the courage to handle evidence of electoral fraud.

The excuse then was that the evidence had been filed late. Time constraint became the basis for brushing over the allegations of electoral fraud. The case was dismissed on a technicality, to the glee of the respondents.

There were praises for the Supreme Court. The judges were commended for their sagacious decision. They told the people to accept a fraud had been committed and move on. Justice was divisive. The Church joined the peace bandwagon to protect the country from truth and justice.

The IEBC, then under the leadership of Isaack Hassan, got away with fraud. The blunder has returned to haunt the country. Instead of being reprimanded and punished, big brother shields the suspects from justice. Instead of being asked to take responsibility for crimes against public trust, and pay the penalty for election offences, the suspects enjoy the shield of impunity. Big brother has always enjoyed the proceeds of fraud.

Justice, we are told, is polarising. Basic rights are trampled. Wrong is legimitimised. Impunity is personified in a system that has no respect for accountability.

The 2017 presidential election petition gives new meaning to justice for respondents who have always enjoyed the protection of other arms of government. It also gives a new dimension to justice for petitioners who have always turned the other cheek.

The Supreme Court tells us when you move on, you pet impunity. The Book of Proverbs is right: “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evil-doers.” But this terror will not intimidate the Judiciary.

A senior member of the Bench made this inspiring post on a public wall on Sunday morning: “Though the tempest rage and the ravings rise, yet shall we stand unbowed and unafraid: true to the oath, faithful to the end.”

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