Raila Odinga mulls next move after election loss

Monday August 14 2017

Raila Odinga

Nasa leader Raila Odinga. The repeat election was “a vote of no confidence”, he says. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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By BERNARD NAMUNANE
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ODM leader Raila Odinga has three options at his disposal Tuesday as he announces his next step following his rejection of the outcome of last week’s General Election.

Sources within the National Super Alliance on Monday said the former presidential candidate could call for peaceful public protests or file a petition at the Supreme Court.

They however ruled out the possibility of him conceding.

JUDICIARY
Mr Odinga has dismissed the results announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as “a sham” and “fraudulent”.

The opposition chief has since kept the country guessing on his next move after he appeared to hint that he may not petition the outcome in court.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tally was at 8.2 million votes while Mr Odinga’s was 6.8 million from 40,845 of the 40,883 polling stations counted.

PROTESTS
Nasa’s legal team was piecing together bits of evidence on which they could base their case in the event that they opt to go to court, an inside source said.

Largely, Nasa is of the view that they must keep the public’s attention on the election dispute until the facts surrounding the transmission of results by the IEBC are brought out.

On Sunday, while touring Kibera to mourn victims of alleged police brutality following three days of post-election protests in the Nairobi slum, Mr Odinga urged his supporters to boycott work and expect a major announcement on his next move Tuesday.

“On Monday, there is no going to work until Tuesday, when I will give directions,” Mr Odinga said.

“They have stolen our votes and they still come to kill our people.”

RIGGING
Nasa officials who did not want to be named said a technical team set up to audit Forms 34A and 34B, used to record official results, was carrying out its work to prove their claim of rigging and also demonstrate the veracity of their other allegations against the electoral commission.

“We have been accused of just talking with no evidence to back up our claims,” the source said.

“We have this time decided to get answers to all our claims. We want to prove that Jubilee stole Mr Odinga’s votes.”

According to the source, part of the business Nasa will undertake on August 15 is to distribute to the media and other stakeholders what he termed as evidence of massive irregularities that show how the election was rigged in the ruling Jubilee’s favour.

PETITION
This will be done after the scrutiny of Forms 34A and 34B that the commission has uploaded to its public portal and which the team says reveals discrepancies that undermine the authenticity of the results announced on Friday declaring President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner.

Legally however, Mr Odinga has limited options even as the time ticks away and an uneasy calm returns to the country following the protests.

Although Siaya Senator James Orengo, who was also Nasa’s deputy chief agent at the poll, has ruled out going to the Supreme Court, filing a presidential petition to challenge the commission’s declaration of the President remains on the table, said the source.

TIMELINE
The Presidential Petition 2017 Guidelines published by the Supreme Court gives Nasa seven days after declaration to file a petition.

This means that Mr Odinga has until Friday to register a dispute at the Court if he believes he has enough evidence to convince the court to nullify the IEBC’c decision.

“This has been an entire charade,” Mr Orengo said on Friday at Bomas of Kenya, where the National Tallying Centre was based, just hours before the commission declared that President Kenyatta had been re-elected.

SUPREME COURT
The senior counsel added: “This is a disaster. You do not just hold an election for the sake of it. Elections are not about announcing winners and losers.

"Election is a process. It’s about participation, it’s about exercise of political rights.

"Going to the Supreme Court is not an option for us. We have been there and we have been disappointed.

"The judgment is now out there, in the court of public opinion. I can tell you, Kenyans always rise up.

"The resilience of Kenyans to deal with impunity, to deal with violations of their rights every time those rights have been trampled upon, can be counted on.”

PUBLIC OPINION
Mr Odinga could ratchet up the anger in his supporters and call for mass protests to push for what he considers justice, although he may be reluctant to expose his supporters to further violent confrontations with the police.

His supporters, mainly from his Luo community, are already isolated and cornered as the State has laid siege in their neighbourhoods and violently suppressed any sign of protest.

Also, a call for mass protests might not resonate with a majority of Nasa supporters since many consider the election to be firmly behind them.