Duale: Why NASA should be held responsible if post-election chaos erupt
It is a know fact that were it not for moderates within the National Super Alliance (Nasa) and pressure from international actors, Raila Odinga’s Plan A was to call for mass action to protest alleged rigging of the August 8 presidential election results.
Before the election and at the Bomas of Kenya upon realising its candidate was headed for a loss, Nasa made it clear that going to court was not an option.
However, hiding behind the move by the NGO Coordination Board to crack the whip against organisations whose operations and sources of funding were questionable, Raila reluctantly agreed to file a petition with the Supreme Court, even when he declared he did not trust the Judiciary to give a fair determination.
He did so with a rider that he was giving the Supreme Court a second chance to redeem itself after it threw out a similar petition he had filed following the 2013 election.
By putting the judges on the defensive literally and using other underhand tactics that have now begun to emerge, Raila succeeded in his quest to have President Uhuru Kenyatta’s resounding win voided largely on account of “illegalities and irregularities” committed during the transmission of results.
President Uhuru, though visibly angered by the judges decision, chose to abide by it and declared his readiness to face off with Raila on the ballot in the fresh election ordered by the Supreme Court. He also passionately appealed to his supporters across the country to maintain peace and embrace their neighbours regardless of their political persuasion and choices in the August 8 election.
Going by the conduct of the Nasa leadership since the Supreme Court ruling was delivered on September 1, one shudders to imagine what would have happened had the judges’ verdict went the other way.
Immediately after delivery of the summary judgement, Nasa launched a war against the leadership of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declaring that they would not go to another election with the same team in charge.
In addition, Nasa has issued what it terms as “irreducible minimums” – a set of far reaching reforms to the electoral system – that are unlikely to be fully implemented given the strict timeline within which a fresh presidential election can constitutionally be held.
And even before the seven day ultimatum they had issued to the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge senior IEBC officials led by chairman Wafula Chebukati elapses, Nasa now says it will go to the streets to force them out if they do not quit by the end of Monday, September 25, 2017.
The DPP Keriako Tobiko has already instructed the police and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe any election offences that may have been committed by the Chebukati team and report back within 21 days, a reasonable period by whatever standards if the investigators are expected to do a good job.
From pronouncements made by the top Nasa leadership and some of its MPs such as Embakasi East’s Babu Owino, it is now clear that they are targeting a regime change through unconstitutional means.
It is also possible that given Raila’s history of forcing change through violent protests as happened in the 2007/08 chaos that birthed the grand coalition government, the ouster of the Isaack Hassan-led commissioners that also gave way for comprehensive electoral reforms, power of the brawn has begun getting into his head.
The question one must ask is why if he is sure he won the August 8 election, why does he fear going into another election and is instead threatening that there will be no elections if he does not have his way?
As Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli rightly noted, Raila should be ready for an election any day and stop hiding behind frivolous grounds such as lack of consultations on when the rerun should be conducted.
When the IEBC initially took into account the national examinations calendar and announced that the fresh poll should be held on October 17, Raila claimed its hand had been forced by Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and that more time was needed to undertake necessary changes that would ensure a credible exercise.
When the commission pushed forward the date to October 26, he again demanded that it be held on October 24 or November one since the day happens to be President Uhuru’s birthday!
He claims French firm, Morpho-Safran, which requested for more time to reconfigure the Kiems kits, suggested the date in order to give the president a birthday gift.
It is time Raila sat down to reflect on what he real wants for this country and future generations. He should drop unrealistic grounds and settle for what can facilitate a free and fair election within the 60 days set by the Constitution.
The international community must also now realise that he does not have good intentions and if there is any breakout of violence, they know who should be held accountable.
History has taught us that violence begets violence but at the end of the day the one who triggers chaos should take ultimate responsibility.
President Uhuru, even with the power of incumbency, has shown admirable restraint even in the face of raw provocation because he cares for the future of this country.
Let that not be mistaken for cowardice.
By Aden Duale, Majority Leader National Assembly.
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