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Be vigilant during repeat poll, Raila tells observers

Friday September 22 2017

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the Carter Centre observer mission, with IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and other commissioners at the Bomas of Kenya on August 7, 2017. Nas leader Raila Odinga has told observers that they have a second chance to effectively play their role in the fresh presidential poll. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the Carter Centre observer mission, with IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and other officials at the Bomas of Kenya on August 7, 2017. Nas leader Raila Odinga has told observers that they have a second chance to effectively play their role in the fresh presidential poll. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMWEL OWINO

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has told the observer mission in the country that they have a second chance to effectively play their role in the coming fresh presidential poll scheduled for October 26.

In a statement to newsrooms after meeting with representatives of two election observation missions on Thursday – the National Democratic Institute and the The Carter Centre on the preparations of the new elections – Mr Odinga told the observers to be vigilant in the coming fresh poll and pay keen attention to what the Supreme Court found to have gone wrong in the August poll.

“We believe in election observation and see it as a critical part of ensuring free and fair polls if the observers focus on the right things,” Mr Odinga told the Carter Centre delegation.

In the August poll, the Carter Centre had sent former US Secretary of State John Kerry to lead a team of other observers.

Mr Kerry heaped praises at IEBC for conducting a free and fair elections despite the concerns raised by the opposition.

ENDORSEMENT

Mr Odinga said the endorsement of the August poll by Carter Centre which has since been nullified by the Supreme Court is now water under the bridge and the focus should be on the coming fresh poll.

“In the glowing complements to the IEBC and talking of how Kenya is leading the continent in the path to democratisation despite our protests, the Carter Centre went too far. But to err is human. We just hope it does not happen again,” Mr Odinga said.

In the meeting that was also attended by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the opposition leaders stuck to their guns that all the major concerns they raised on IEBC must be addressed before they can participate in the repeat presidential election.

ROLE OF OBSERVERS

The meeting largely focused on the role of observes which came under sharp criticism by the opposition in the August elections.

The opposition also reiterated their earlier position that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should now begin investigating IEBC officials who bungled the August elections failure to which Nasa will begin private prosecutions.

“We believe IEBC officials are culpable. The Supreme Court spoke of illegalities and irregularities in the polls. Somebody must be punished for it,” Mr Odinga said.

On Wednesday night, Nasa lead counsel and Siaya Senator James Orengo told senior IEBC officials that they are not yet off the hook despite the Supreme Court finding that none of them committed an election offence.

“The court found that there were illegalities and irregularities on how the election was managed. It is now upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to act on the individuals that committed them,” Mr Orengo said.