Election court challenge will guarantee Kenya’s stability says Nic Hailey

Nic Hailey with Journalist
Nic Hailey speaking to a journalist. Photo: Twitter/UKinKenya

The United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, has joined fellow diplomats in welcoming the move by the National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga to challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory in the Supreme Court.

Mr Hailey said that the decision will not only ensure justice is served to all parties but also guarantee Kenya’s stability remains intact, reported Capital FM yesterday.

“They (NASA) clearly would want to produce the evidence that they have, there will be a process for that…I think that is exactly right because that is how these things are decided under the law,” Mr Hailey said, following Odinga’s briefing yesterday.

“People have a right to march in the streets to express their views but those demonstrations need to remain peaceful and everyone needs to wait for this matter to play out,” he added.

International observers praised the handling of the presidential election, with the European Union mission saying it had seen no sign of manipulation despite opposition complaints and scattered protests.

Speaking to the press, Nic Hailey, welcomed NASA’s decision to take their concerns to the Supreme Court, in line with Kenya’s constitution.

The interview in full is transcribed below:

Reporter: What is your view on Raila Odinga’s decision to go to the supreme court?

British High Commissioner: We in the international community have never had a candidate or a preference in this election, we have strongly supported the constitution and the electoral process, and our work has been to strengthen that. Since the election finished, since the result was announced, we have been very clear that there is a process under the constitution for challenging that result, through the Supreme Court, and anybody who is unhappy should follow that process. So I very warmly welcome the decision by Raila Odinga to follow the Supreme Court process, this gives him and anyone else the chance to present all the evidence that they have, to argue their case, and to let justice decide on the verdict.

Reporter: Do you think the National Super Alliance (NASA) have enough evidence to sustain a case in court, based on what you’ve observed?

British High Commissioner: I can’t determine that… I am here to represent a country that cares about Kenya’s institutions and its constitution. The parties will clearly want to produce the evidence that they have, there will be a process for that, there will be a process for working it through on all sides, and I think that is exactly right; this is how these things are decided under the rule of law and under the constitution.

Reporter: Given most election observation missions have the case the thumbs up, do you think the opposition have a solid case and evidence to present for the court to give a fair and just judgment?

British High Commissioner: I am not a lawyer and I haven’t seen the evidence that they have and so I am not going to judge on whether their case is solid or not, that is for the court to decide. [The evidence] is for them to pull together, but as I say we support this process and we very much welcome the opposition’s decision to follow the process laid down in the constitution. Meanwhile we call on Kenyans to remain calm, to allow the process to take its course. People have a right to march in the streets, to express their views, but those demonstrations that do occur need to remain peaceful and everybody needs to wait for the case to play out.

Reporter: Initially NASA had said that court was not an option for them, but they have now changed their minds, in your opinion, do you think this will help unite the country in these days of much tension?

British High Commissioner: I think it is a very positive move, as I say your constitution sets out very clearly how this process works, how people can challenge the results, and a number of candidates from both sides have taken that option, in their own races across the country. I very much welcome the opposition’s decision to take [this course of action]. We’ve always been very clear that there is a way of challenging this, as set out in your constitution, and that is the [route] we as friends of Kenya would like to see all parties [take]. We welcome their decision.