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Nasa’s ‘no reforms, no polls’ campaign poses headache for Jubilee

Sunday October 1 2017

Raila Odinga

Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses the media after meeting with Bunge la Wenye Nchi officials at Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington. Insistence by Nasa that there will be no election with electoral reforms poses headache for Jubilee. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WANJOHI GITHAE
By WANJOHI GITHAE
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The cryptic message by Nasa leader Raila Odinga that there would be no repeat presidential election unless the coalition’s demands for reforms are met has sent Jubilee back to the drawing board as they try to unravel what he really means.

Mr Odinga has consistently insisted that there will be no election if the electoral agency IEBC does not meet what he has christened the “irreducible minimums” stated by Nasa. 

On Friday, Mr Odinga added yet another demand when he asked Jubilee to withdraw a raft of amendments to electoral laws which have been presented to Parliament.

The only way that the election can be postponed is if one of the running mates dies before Election Day or the IEBC is unable to ensure that there is voting in all constituencies.

FRETTING

It’s with these scenarios in mind that Jubilee is fretting on what exactly Mr Odinga means about there being no election.

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On Saturday, John Mbadi, one of Mr Odinga’s closest allies and the Leader of Minority in National Assembly, reiterated his boss’ “stance should the government fail to follow the Supreme Court judgement to the letter.”

He, however, could not divulge what options Nasa had up its sleeves. He said how Nasa will ensure there would be no elections was premature talk.

“Let us cross the bridge when we reach there. We will be clear when the time comes,” he said.

PEDDLING MISINFORMATION

He accused Jubilee of peddling misinformation and speculation on how Nasa intends to make good its threat to ensure there would be no voting on October 26 if its demands are not met.

“Did they attend our meetings to know what we are planning?  This country belongs to all of us and the chest thumping that economy will suffer is misplaced because our supporters also have a stake in this country,” he said.

Jubilee leaders who spoke to the Nation Saturday sought to address themselves to what they expect Nasa would do were their demands not met.

Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said barring people from voting would be unlawful.

COURT ORDER

“It’s a cardinal principle of law that a court of equity will not assist a person in extricating himself or herself from the circumstances that he or she has created. Raila must know that he cannot frustrate a Presidential elections and seek to benefit from it through courts of law,” said Mr Murkomen.

Mr Tuju said the court orders were that elections must be held and Nasa cannot turn around and disobey an order he sought from the court.

“The only way they can make sure that Kenyans do not vote is by having Men in Black everywhere, a tall order even by their standards,” Mr Tuju said. He was referring to persons who once disrupted Mr Odinga’s party elections at the Kasarani Gymnasium.

Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki said article 138(2) that states that election must be conducted in every constituency only compels IEBC to provide officials and materials in every part of the country.

NOT MANDATORY

“It is not mandatory to vote.  It’s only in New Zealand where people are compelled by the law to vote but in Kenya it’s a right to choose whether to vote or not,” he said.

Professor Kindiki said an election cannot be invalidated if it is established that IEBC provided all election materials and officials in every election.

He said even zero votes are results.

Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa said Jubilee leaders in western Kenya, where the opposition enjoys huge support, will deploy presidential agents to stations they are registered as voters.

Opposition coalition Nasa has tabled a list of nine areas of reforms that they say must be taken before the fresh election, which the electoral commission has set for October 26.

They touch on human resource changes, reforms on technology for election, identification of a new printer for the ballot papers as well as operational and logistical reforms.