When the National Super Alliance filed a petition challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, it became the Supreme Court’s sole duty to determine the outcome.
Ideally, elections are political contests that should be resolved at the ballot. But when the ballot fails, courts become the ultimate recourse.
Courts are independent institutions as enshrined in the Constitution. Together with the Executive and the Legislature, the three independent institutions manage the affairs of the nation.
They may collaborate, but largely work independently in the execution of their mandates and provide checks and balances for one another.
In law, matters before court are sacrosanct and their merits or demerits cannot be canvassed in public. However, the political elite seems to trash this principle.
Now, the Supreme Court has come out forcefully to caution President Uhuru Kenyatta, his main challenger, Nasa’s Raila Odinga, electoral commission boss Wafula Chebukati, their advisers and others against discussing the petition in public.
Specifically, the court is cautioning politicians against issuing subtle threats to it and its officials, warning that they risk breaching the law.
It is disappointing that politicians are playing stubborn because just a few weeks ago, Chief Justice David Maraga issued a stern warning against commenting on matters in court or threatening judicial officials.
Intimidation of the Judiciary is calculated to undermine the rule of law.
Paradoxically, it is the same leaders who have sworn to uphold the Constitution and respect its institutions.
For them to turn around and attack the court is duplicitous to the extreme.
The petition is a critical matter. The future of this country depends on its outcome and the Supreme Court judges fully understand the enormity of the challenge on their hands.
They have the competence and presence of mind to discharge their duties. Political leaders and their lackeys must keep off and let the judges do their work.
However, the judges will only earn respect and uphold the dignity of the court by the way they will adjudicate over this momentous case.