Uhuru Kenyatta reacts to Raila Odinga's poll pull-out

Tuesday October 10 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his Deputy

President Uhuru Kenyatta with his Deputy William Ruto with other Jubilee leaders at Voi Stadium on October 10, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION REPORTER
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By SAMWEL OWINO
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President Kenyatta says he is ok with Raila Odinga’s withdrawal from the repeat presidential election.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader exercised his “democratic right” to withdraw from the repeat poll, Mr Kenyatta said on Tuesday.

However, the president added, the October 26 poll will continue as schedule and as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Mr Kenyatta said while Mr Odinga has a right to pull out of the election, “he should know that Kenyans have a right to choose their leaders”.

INJUSTICE

He termed Mr Odinga’s withdrawal as “injustice”, saying more than Sh12 billion has been spent to prepare for the repeat poll.

“That money would have been used to build roads,” he said during his campaign in Voi.

Reacting to Nasa announcement, Jubilee MPs called on the electoral commission to immediately declare Mr Kenyatta as president.

The legislators pointed out that since there were only two candidates for the repeat poll and Mr Odinga has already withdrawn from the race, the only option is to declare Mr Kenyatta as the president because he has no competitor.

WINNER

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said despite Odinga’s withdrawal, the repeat poll will still be held and Mr Kenyatta will be declared the winner.

“Why has Raila been calling on his supporters to be on the street to demonstrate when he knew that he will not be at the ballot in the long run. There will be elections as earlier planned on October 26 and President Kenyatta will win,” Mr Duale said.

Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire, who is also Jubilee deputy chief whip in the National Assembly told IEBC not to be cowed by act of the opposition leader to withdraw from the race and declare the remaining candidate winner.

“Now that we only have Uhuru Kenyatta as the presidential candidate, IEBC should give us the nod to proceed to Kasarani to swear in Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mbarire said.

CRISIS

Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said Mr Odinga has been misled by his lawyers thinking that he will benefit from his withdrawal or cause any crisis.

“We need to move forward as a country, we need our country back from the jaws of Raila Odinga and the Supreme Court.

“We cannot force anyone to participate in the elections. I think the opposition leader was not prepared for the outcome he got at the Supreme Court, he was too excited until he did not know what to do with the victory,” he added.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega accused Mr Odinga of trying to cause constitutional crisis by withdrawing his candidature just days to the repeat poll.

He said the Nasa presidential candidate pulled out because he knew he was going to suffer another defeat in the hands of Jubilee.

REPEAT

“Mr Odinga knew very well that he was not going to win the repeat elections as the number of votes he got in the August elections have significantly reduced,” Mr Kega said.

“We have no special seat for the opposition leader…if he wants to be the president of this country then he has no option but just campaign and get votes from the people,” Kega added.

Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru thanked the opposition leader for ‘conceding defeat’ even before election.

“Now that that Raila is not going to participate in the elections, he should allow IEBC to do its work without interference,” Mrs Waruguru said.