Jubilee goes on with rallies as poll date nears

Sunday October 22 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Deputy William Ruto, flanked by President Uhuru Kenyatta, addresses Kitengela residents during a tour of Kajiado County on October 21, 2017. They are about to conclude their campaigns. PHOTO | PSCU 

By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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Key political players are doing final touches in readiness for the Thursday presidential election.

The Jubilee team has a tight campaign schedule while the Nasa team, which has withdrawn from the election, will also be holding rallies to drum up support for the “no election” call.

On Saturday, the first batch of 43 pallets containing ballot papers for 10 counties that are farthest from Nairobi arrived from Dubai.

Materials for the 22 counties in 183 pallets will arrive Monday morning and the last batch for 15 counties in 165 pallets lands on Tuesday.

BOYCOTT

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday took his campaign to Kitengela in Kajiado County.

An earlier political rally at Olkurto in Narok County was called off due to rain and bad weather.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, accompanied by other leaders, attended a burial in Bondo constituency while Thirdway Alliance candidate Ekuru Aukot was in Nakuru County.

The President said that the election will proceed as planned.

“If Odinga, who went to court and got his prayers for a repeat election will not participate, we are sorry, we must go into [the] election.

"We cannot continue holding Kenyans in suspense,” he said in Kajiado.

IEBC

Nasa co-principal and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was in Lugari constituency where he accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of pilling pressure on Nasa to participate in the repeat election.

He said both IEBC and Jubilee must understand that the opposition’s resolve to have reforms before polls has nothing to do with individuals in Nasa. 

Nasa team will today be in Trans Nzoia County and head to Kisii County on Monday.

PRAYER

President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto will on their part attend the National Prayer Day at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru today before wrapping up their campaigns in Nairobi on Monday.

“Recognising that Kenya is a God fearing nation, I have called for national prayers.

"It is imperative that we collectively pray for our beloved nation. I call on all Kenyans to converge in their mosques, churches, temples and other places of worship and pray for our nation,” the President said in his Mashujaa Day speech on Friday.

He also asked those willing to vote in the repeat election to turn out in large numbers assuring them of their security.

ELECTION LAWS

Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju said they were finalising the training of its agents.

“Most of the agents have already been trained and the few ones that remain will be trained by Tuesday. We will have over 40,000 agents across the country,” he said.

The Head of State is however under pressure from his lieutenants to assent to the Election Laws Amendment Bill 2017 before the Thursday poll.

The proposed legislation seeks to amend three pieces of law, the Elections Law (Amendment) Act 2016, the Election Offences Act 2016 and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act 2011.

DEMOS

The changes provide that the vice-chair should automatically become the head of the commission in the absence of the chairman and can therefore declare presidential results, besides other functions.

“In the absence of the chairperson for any reason, the vice chairperson will assume the duties of the chairperson and exercise the powers and responsibilities of the chairperson until such time that another chairperson shall be appointed,” part of the bill reads.

Mr Odinga has said the opposition will hold countrywide demonstrations on October 26, the day set for the repeat presidential election also announcing that he will address the nation on the eve of the poll to issue a major declaration.

“We are not fools. Listen to me very carefully on Wednesday, October 25. On this day, I will tell you how we will slay the cat,” he said.

POLICE OFFICERS

The former prime minister has cited lack of reforms in the electoral body led by Wafula Chebukati as the reason for the withdrawal from the poll.

However, the government has remained adamant that it will not allow any disruption of the election.

President Kenyatta has cautioned that those who do will be dealt with firmly.

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said security officers will be deployed in each polling station to ensure there is no interference.

Chiefs and their assistants will also be roped in the efforts to ensure a secure environment for voters.

CHILOBA

Already, embattled IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba has taken a three week leave as a way of building confidence regarding the credibility of the outcome.

He is one of the senior officials whose resignation the opposition has been demanding.

Dr Ekuru Aukot, Mr Abduba Dida, Mr Joseph Nyagah, Mr Michael Wainaina and Mr Japheth Kavinga are the other candidates facing President Kenyatta in the race.

But there are pending court cases on Thursday’s election.

Businessman and politician Harun Mwau has sued the electoral agency for intending to conduct a fresh presidential election without nominations.

COURT CASES

Activist Okiya Omtata also moved to court to stop IEBC from declaring Mr Kenyatta President after Mr Odinga withdrew.

Another case by Uzalendo Institute of Leadership and Democracy seeks interpretation of the term “fresh election”.

Similarly, Uriri MP Mark Nyamita has sued the State over the withdrawal of Mr Odinga's security.

The cases will be heard Monday.

On Tuesday, the court will rule in a case by Pokot South MP David Pkosing who has sought orders to compel Nasa to participate in the repeat poll.

Additional reporting by Joseph Ngunjiri, Ruth Mbula, Linet Wafula