THE GRAND PETITION

Supreme Court Judges 2017
The seven Kenya Supreme Court judges. From left-right: Justice Njoki Ndung’u, Justice Jackton Ojwang, DCJ Philomena Mwilu, CJ David Maraga, Justice Mohamed Ibrahim, Justice Smoking Wanjala, and Justice Lenaola.
I choose to ignore the swearing-in-ceremony that took place in parliament and direct my spotlight on the Grand Petition, whose ruling we expect tomorrow, for one simple reason; just like the governors, we don’t know how many of the leaders that were sworn in today were electronically hatched. If the damning evidence from the partial scrutiny of the IEBC’ ICT Systems is anything to go by, then there is cause to believe that the results we saw on our TVs never actually came from the raw data of votes collected from the ground.
 
Logic has it that if the presidential results were manipulated, then it goes without saying that even the lower seats were affected. For instance, what would stop the hackers from electronically hatching a few friendly governors in places like Ukambani and coast in order to check the influence of Kalonzo Musyoka and Ali Hassan Joho respectively? What would prevent them from hatching a few MPs and senators in opposition strongholds to give JP an outright majority, in both houses, as well as a national outlook?
 
Whichever way the ruling on the presidential petition goes today, one thing stands clear now: the petitioner has already achieved more than half of what the petition was intended for. For starters, the petitioner has proved to the entire world that Raila Amolo Odinga is not a perennial ‘crybaby,’ ‘rabble-rouser or ‘bitter loser’ as some people would want us to believe. The dramatic exposure of the despicable monkey business, which went on behind the scenes after we went to the polls on August 8th, leaves no doubt that the newly constituted IEBC is ten times more rotten than their predecessors.
 
The scale of evasiveness and impunity exhibited by this supposedly independent body, especially when the Supreme Court recently ordered scrutiny of its servers and original electoral documents, is not only numbing but absolutely mind-boggling. What is even more vexing is the fact that IEBC’s impunity seems to emanate from evidently powerful dark forces that have, hitherto, firmly held the electoral body and the entire country hostage. To make things worse, the international community has proved that democracy in third world countries only matters when the Western Powers’ interests are at stake.
 
By now, any Kenyan who doesn’t belong to the class of lazy thinkers knows that calling the just concluded elections a sham is a vacuous understatement. The best description of the Bomas of Kenya National Elections Tallying Center that I have heard so far came from veteran lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee who aptly likened it to the famous “Bermuda Triangle” where forms 34 A & B (ships) sink into and never come back. Nobody has ever known what happens to them thereafter.
In security lingo, the Bomas of Kenya is a grotesque crime scene. If we were in a properly working democracy, the entire facility should by now be cordoned off by the yellow police tape with the words “CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS” boldly written all over it. The place will be forever remembered as the infamous slaughterhouse where Kenya’s nascent democracy was repeatedly raped and murdered.
 
Courtroom Drama
However, the Petition hearings at the Supreme Court were not without instances of comic relief, especially from the IEBC/Uhuru lawyers, as legal minds battled it out while basking in the national limelight. Some episodes that stood out include the time when former political reformist turned tormentor Paul Muite, with his famously fierce stare, looked directly into the eyes of CJ Maraga and explained that IEBC was unable to grant access to its servers as ordered because the damn servers were in Europe and folks over there were still asleep!
 
Then came one Tom Macharia who made a complete fool of himself as the entire world watched when he was put to task by the lady DCJ Philomena Mwilu and Justice Smoking Wanjala. The lady asked him to explain how stray ballots came about and why the president ended up garnering over half a million votes more than those cast for the other lower seats. Like a stray dog caught in the headlights of a car in the dark, he mumbled and fumbled all through. Below are excerpts of the exchange:
 
DCJ: When a voter is given six ballot papers and decides to vote for the president only, where do the remaining five go?
 
Mr Macharia: You see, Mmmmhm… the person votes but the votes end up in wrong boxes as stray ballots, sorry, stray bullets, Mmmmhm…the person never votes…phew!
 
Justice Smoking: Mr Macharia you are not answering a very simple question! You arrive at the polling station, you are given six ballot papers, and then you decide to vote for the president only, where do the other five ballot papers go? What happens to them?
 
Mr Macharia: Mmmmhm… you see, the stray bullets… (Breaks into a sweat and a sheepish smile engulfs his face) …maybe I don’t understand these things properly. Let my colleague from IEBC help… (Sinks into his seat with a deep sigh of relief)
 
The other person who caught the attention of the court’s audience is the man commonly referred to as the Grand Mullah, Ahmednassir Abdullahi. Besides his characteristic arrogance, he sounded like an agitated don lecturing first-year law students. A friend of mine captured his rants in court as those of a man who speaks English rounded off to the nearest Somali language.
 
 PLO Lumumba
But, perhaps one of the most talked-about lawyer in town who captured Kenyans’ attention most is one Patrick Loch Otieno (PLO), Lumumba. Opinion is still as deeply divided, as the country is now, about his performance in the Supreme Court depending on which side of the political divide one stands or sits. Jubilee supporters hailed him as an exceptional grandmaster of the English language who eloquently demolished the NASA Presidential Petition using loaded phrases such as “dead on arrival” and “lack of focus and particularity.” He then went ahead to quote the now much talked about Latin law principle of “De Minimis Non-Curat Lex” which simply means that judges will not sit in judgment of extremely minor transgressions of the law.
 
Clearly, the man believed that by forcefully spitting pretentious quotes, which ricocheted off the walls and reverberated across the hallways of the supposedly hallowed Victorian house called the Supreme Court, he added a lot of credence to his legal argument. He knew that the scene could even be more theatrical if his quotes emanated from an extinct European language, most preferably Latin, and spoken in the most pompous diction and nuances (I am yet to come across normal human beings conversing in Latin). It’s worth noting that in the modern times; the language is only reserved for indoctrination of religious adherents or as legalese mostly meant to confuse lay-people when lawyers want to defeat justice.
 
As a popular keynote speaker who has been traversing the continent to speak about democracy and justice for all, PLO looked totally out of place defending a travesty of monumental proportions like the just concluded Kenyan elections. As a matter of fact, the man should just stick to public speaking where occasional Latin quotes, spoken in a voice that openly mimics the great Martin Luther King Junior, might have endeared him to his audiences and earned him several rounds of applause. Unfortunately for him, in court, only raw facts and evidence can move the judges.
 
For now, it suffices to say that PLO was indeed the worst performer in terms of legally helping his client’s case in the dramatic Supreme Court Petition submissions. The man is simply overrated. When all is said and done, PLO will live to remember the 2017 Presidential Petition hearings as the time he lost half of the people in the faithful audience that he has built over the years.
 
Given his penchant for Latin quotes, I am sure he must have come across many Julius Caesar quotes. Known to be one of the most revered military geniuses of all time; a shrewd political genius and perhaps the most influential leaders of the ancient world, Caesar once said that,
Homines quod volunt credunt” (Men believe that which they wish to be true). If indeed PLO believes that the transgressions in the just concluded elections were too small that the law has no cure for them, then that is what he wishes to be true. However, deep down his heart, he knows that the transgressions he defended in the Supreme Court were monstrous.
 
But what would you expect from a man who once publicly apologized for intellectual property theft? If a man can choose to discard the tenets that he has always preached and held dear for money, then what they teach in law school is a perfect form of pure deceit. The holy book asks us all a very important question in Matthew 16:26: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
 
Today, we yet again have a date with destiny and, lest we forget, the will of the people must always prevail.

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