Business, Finance & Economics

Kenya News: High Court delays election date until 2013


A Kenyan voter walks out of a polling station, past an armed policeman on August 4, 2010 after she cast her vote at a primary school within the Mathare slum, in Nairobi in the ongoing constitutional referendum. Kenyans voted Wednesday on a proposed constitution to make their institutions more democratic amid tight security aimed at preventing a repeat of deadly post-election violence in 2007-8. Backed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the 'yes' vote has led opinion polls despite a feisty 'no' campaign which has stigmatised the text as allowing abortion and harming certain tribes on land issues.


Tony Karumba

NAIROBI, Kenya — Eighteen months ago, Kenyans voted for a new constitution.

It was a moment of hope, particularly since the last time they had voted it triggered political violence that split the country along ethnic lines and left over 1,100 people dead, 300,000 homeless and — latterly — six Kenyan men facing possible trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

More from GlobalPost: Kenya glued to International Criminal Court proceedings

Among various provisions in the new constitution was the ruling that future elections should be held in August. Not so, said the MPs who are desperate to continue drawing their huge salaries (Kenyan lawmakers are the world's best paid) until the final moments of the terms they won in the bloody aftermath of the 2007 polls. And not so, said the High Court, which has issued a ruling to a surprised country that elections might not happen until March 2013.

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The timing of the vote is not as important as the willingness to flout the new constitution that the High Court ruling shows. This is worrying because the constitution is precisely supposed to prevent a repeat of the violence of early 2008.