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Uhuru, Raila need not incite supporters to ‘victory or death’

Monday September 11 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) addresses a delegation of Kamba leaders at State House, Nairobi, on September 11, 2017. Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses journalists outside Pangani police station on September 11, 2017 where former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama was being held. Nasa and Jubilee campaigns are preaching the gospel that defeat is out of the question. PHOTOS | SAMUEL MIRING'U AND DENNIS ONSONGO 

By MACHARIA GAITHO
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and his angry hordes are living under the delusion that the 1.4 million vote margin that had secured him the presidential election remains intact.

They are comforting themselves with the self-serving argument that the Supreme Court’s nullification of his August 8 victory was grounded only on problems with the result tallying and transmission system but it did not question the actual votes count announced by Returning Officer Wafula Chebukati.

So they want to believe that the fresh election set for October 17 will be just a reconfirmation of the annulled result.

POLL PETITION
Opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his own hopeful hordes are also suffering their delusions.

They believe that the successful Nasa petition that annulled the presidential election results confirms the claim that he was robbed of electoral victory.

They thus hold that he was the actual winner of the election and the repeat poll will serve merely as an affirmation of his right to State House.

The fact is that neither President Kenyatta nor Mr Odinga have grounds to believe as they do.

VOTE TALLYING
The Supreme Court decision read by Chief Justice David Maraga did not pronounce itself on who might have won the popular vote.

It just found that the vote tallying and result transmission systems were so flawed that it was impossible to go with the outcome reported by the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Under that scenario, it is unlikely that even the full ruling set to be delivered within the next nine days will clear the air on who might have been the winner or loser.

HACKING
President Kenyatta’s supporters now accuse the Supreme Court judges of delivering a faulty judgement because they did not go the whole hog and order a recount of the votes cast. That is a time-barred argument.

The President’s lawyers had every opportunity in court to apply for a recount but spurned the opportunity.

Maybe he should refuse to pay the legal fees — or report his battery of advocates to the Law Society of Kenya for dereliction of duty.

Mr Odinga’s supporters, in turn, believe that victory was theirs on the basis of claims that the IEBC computer system was hacked and the vote count manipulated.

REINVIGORATE
But the ‘evidence’ of computer hacking — publicly presented even before the Supreme Court petition was filed — was, interestingly, never presented in court.

Neither did the petition present any contrary vote count numbers from the Odinga campaign’s polling agents and the touted parallel voter tabulation.

Any numbers presented outside the court to buttress claims of an Odinga victory seem to have been plucked out of thin air.

One would have to be living in a fool’s paradise to hold firmly to his own manufactured claims of electoral victory.

Of course, it serves both the Kenyatta and Odinga campaigns to re-energise and motivate their respective bases with tales of certain victory come second round.

VIOLENCE

The problem is, messages meant to bring out the vote are couched in terms of ‘victory or death’.

Both campaigns are preaching the gospel that defeat is out of the question and will only happen if the elections are rigged.

Ethnic mobilisation and hate speech is reaching fever pitch as supporters on both sides are primed to reject, violently if need be, an unfavourable outcome.

This is a situation probably more dangerous than that prevailing in the run-up to the August 8 General Election.

The situation is made worse by the fact that the electoral commission is now openly divided along what looks like the same Jubilee-Nasa fault lines.

RESIGN
Mr Chebukati and commissioner Roselyn Akombe are seen as Nasa favourites while vice-chair Consolata Maina and CEO Ezra Chiloba are perceived to lean towards Jubilee.

The honourable thing to do would be for all commissioners and secretariat staff whose neutrality is in question to resign immediately.

It is only a reconstructed IEBC enjoying the confidence of both sides that can be trusted with the repeat election.

* * *
I see with satisfaction that the usual bunch of hate-speech mongers have attracted the attention of the law again.

I propose that, this time round, they be remanded at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison to share cells with hardcore ‘lifers’, who would salivate at the gift of ‘fresh meat’.

[email protected]; Twitter: @MachariaGaitho