CORD back to the streets for anti-IEBC protests despite dialogue calls

CORD back to the streets for anti-IEBC protests despite dialogue calls

CORD leader Raila Odinga is set to lead his supporters in a third march as they surge on with their push for the removal of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners from office.

Speaking at the burial of Dr Michael Amolo in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, Raila said the protests will go on as planned noting that CORD will not back down from its demands to have IEBC reconstituted.

The ODM party leader noted that the coalition has no faith in the commission and its ability to conduct a free and fair election in 2017 claiming they are working with Jubilee to rig President Uhuru Kenyatta back to power.

CORD’s move to return to the streets puts into question the fate of their earlier demand for national dialogue over the issues surrounding the electoral commission.

In its letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, CORD expressed interest in holding talks with the government to seek resolutions to an array of issues including reforming IEBC before the next election.

Though State House is yet to formally respond to the letter, subsequent pronouncements by Deputy President William Ruto and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen show the government’s willingness to dialogue, though restricting the process within Constitutional framework.

On Sunday, DP Ruto said that the government has a team that is ready to hold talks with CORD over the issues raised, though insisting that the negotiations should be done in Parliament.

“We have for long told CORD that we have a team in Parliament that is ready to engage with them on the issues that they have raised and we stand by that. If they are serious about dialogue they should however desist from giving conditions,” said Ruto.

Duale and Murkomen have also told CORD to express their concerns through a parliamentary process instead of resorting to demonstrations that could threaten the country’s peace.

CORD has, however, ruled out going the ‘Parliament way’ on the matter saying they do not believe their issues will be fairly articulating through legislative processes.

In a statement to media houses Sunday, Raila claimed that they chose to hold street protests against IEBC over going through the parliamentary process due to an apparent tendency by Jubilee to use its numbers in the Houses to shoot down CORD’s petitions.

He made reference to a petition by Wafula Buke, raising questions of gross mismanagement of public finances by IEBC commissioners in the procurement of biometric voter registration and voter identification devices as one of the petitions that was frustrated by Jubilee legislators.

“A petition, filed by Mr Wafula Buke mid-2014, for example, laid out various charges against the commissioners, which alleged that they had failed in their work and that they had been corrupt,” read the statement in part.

“Wafula’s petition was buried in accusations that he had been sent by CORD to fight the commissioners and in the end he was never accorded serious consideration. Jubilee marshaled its numbers in the house and threw out the petition.”

ODM chair John Mbadi has warned Jubilee against shielding IEBC commissioners saying no amount of teargas will stop them from calling for the removal of Issack Hassan.

CORD’s last two attempts to storm IEBC offices located at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi were thwarted after police lobbed teargas at the protesters.


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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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