Nasa walks out of IEBC meeting

Tuesday September 12 2017

Nasa leader Raila Odinga (in blue suit) arrives

Nasa leader Raila Odinga (in blue suit) arrives at Anniversary Towers for the meeting with IEBC. The meeting failed to take off. PHOTO | PATRICK LANG'AT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PATRICK LANG'AT
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Nasa co-principals led by Raila Odinga have walked out of planned meeting with the electoral agency, protesting a nine-page agenda and Jubilee's no-show.

But Deputy President William Ruto, in a quick rejoinder after attending the meeting, dismissed Nasa’s complaints on the said agenda, saying it was not an ambush as alleged.

Mr Odinga’s team had arrived at the IEBC Anniversary Towers offices at 11.15am and by 12.05pm when they addressed journalists, the Jubilee Party representatives had not showed up.

Mr Ruto arrived at 12.29pm, long after the Nasa team had left in protest after Jubilee leaders kept them waiting.

“This meeting was only confirmed last night after we had made plans for a Jubilee parliamentary group meeting, and as you know it has MPs from all over the country and it took longer than we expected,” said Mr Ruto.

IEBC INDEPENDENCE

The DP came out of a 25-minute meeting with the commission, beating the drums of respect for its independence.

“Let us give IEBC the space to do its job. The commissioners who are there are capable of the job, and they did not just land there, they were interviewed,” he said.

Mr Ruto also termed as “not personal” his claims that IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati had met with Nasa representatives at night.

“We had only said it because we care for a free, and fair elections,” he said.

He also backed down from a clamour by the Jubilee Party to have nine officials of a new team formed by Mr Chebukati to manage the polls.

“We had raised issues because we were told the decision was not unanimous,” said Mr Ruto.

In the meeting, IEBC and the two sides were scheduled to discuss, among other things, plans for the October 17 repeat presidential election after the Supreme Court quashed Mr Kenyatta's re-election.

CHILOBA

Nasa wants IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, and five other officials of the secretariat sacked for allegedly bungling the August 8 poll while Jubilee has rejected some of the names in the project team named by Mr Chebukati to manage the repeat poll.

Earlier, the Nasa team abandoned its planned meeting with the IEBC after the over 50-minute wait.

Nasa chief agent Musalia Mudavadi accused the IEBC of not being ready for the meeting.

"The IEBC told us that they needed to meet our presidential candidate and one or two people. We came here at 11.15am and up to now, we have not seen the Jubilee side," said Mr Mudavadi.

He said it was wrong for the IEBC to present them with an agenda as they went into the meeting.

"We have just been presented with a document, about nine pages that we are seeing for the first time now," explained Mr Mudavadi.

He went on: "We had hoped that the IEBC will have the basic courtesy to give us the document much earlier if it was going to form the basis of the meeting."

Mr Mudavadi termed as "not serious" the Jubilee team when asked if they would wait for the DP to arrive.

The DP's security detail and media team had been at the IEBC since 11am, with increased police presence at the Anniversary Towers offices.

"We as Nasa [are] ready for a structured meeting where all the cards are on the table," said Mr Mudavadi.

The Nasa chief agent said that the coalition did not get to talk about their push to have seven officials of the Chiloba-led secretariat fired before the October 17 fresh presidential election.

Mr Chebukati on Monday said that Mr Chiloba and six others that Nasa want removed will stay in office, to back a new seven-member team led by Mr Chiloba's deputy Marjan Hussein Marjan to manage the fresh poll.