Controversial election in Kenya
On 4 March 2013 Kenya held presidential elections in which Uhuru Kenyatta defeated his rival Raila Odinga with the slightest margin, 50.07% of the votes casted. The election deemed free and fair by many observers, though Odinga, the current prime minister, vowed to challenge it in the court.
The election of Uhuru Kenyatta is controversial, as he is among those indicted by the International Court of Justice (ICC) for crimes committed during the 2007 post-election violence. More than 1,100 Kenyans lost their lives and 600,000 people were displaced in the violence that mostly followed ethnic lines. The Court accused Uhuru Kenyatta and three other politicians for orchestrating the violence.
The election deemed free and fair by many observers, though Odinga, the current prime minister, vowed to challenge it in the court. As some commentators noted, the ICC charge backfired and boosted Uhuru Kenyatta’s election campaign.
The diplomatic impact of Uhuru’s victory is yet to been seen. Human rights groups and some Western governments expressed their concern regarding Uhuru Kenyatta’s bid to run for presidency. On the other hand, Kenyatta has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty by the Court.
It is important to find the balance between justice and respecting the result of democratic elections within the Kenyan context. However, neither election victory nor presidency can justify impunity, providing that the ICC prosecutor have evidence to convict the suspects.
The presidential elections on 4 March were relatively peaceful, especially considering what happened last time. But 19 people, including several policemen, died during an attack on Election Day in the coastal regions of Mombasa and Kilifi.