Kipchumba Murkomen : Raila Odinga is confusing his supporters through his numerous threats
Concern is rising within National Super Alliance (Nasa) ranks that while President Uhuru Kenyatta has pulled all stops to ensure they win the fresh election ordered by the Supreme Court, their candidate Raila Odinga is confusing his supporters through his numerous threats that there will be no elections. Even worse is the fact that they have been shifting goal posts on what exactly they want.
Initially, Raila and other Nasa principals had declared they will boycott the repeat election unless Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati resign following their indictment by the Supreme Court.
They later changed tune and said they had no problem with Chebukati but want Commissioner Yakub Guliye, who is in charge of ICT, CEO Ezra Chiloba and other top secretariat officials to resign.
Thereafter, Nasa issued what they described as irreducible minimums, which the electoral body must meet before they can take part in the fresh election, which Raila also wants moved from October 17.
Then, he said in a TV interview that Nasa will not boycott the election since there will not be one leaving his supporters even more confused.
His assertion that candidates sitting for national examinations this year will not die if the poll is extended by two weeks offended many parents especially coming at a time nine students at Moi Girls, Nairobi had died in a fire inferno. It is likely to cost him a lot of votes.
Most parents and Jubilee leaders accused Raila of being insensitive to the welfare of kids, who have been preparing for the exams which would make or break their future.
As Nasa leaders hold one press conference after another, Uhuru and his team have been traversing the country pushing for their re-election and mending fences with those who were on the opposite side in what could tilt the tide against Raila.
The result has been defections by key Nasa leaders including Isaac Ruto, one of the Nasa principals, former Kitui Senator David Musila, former Funyula Paul Otuoma, former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, former Heritage minister Suleiman Shakombo and former Kanduyi MP Alfred Khangati among scores of others.
Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto have also been hosting delegations from communities that backed Raila last month, including the Kamba and the Luhya further tightening the grip on Nasa though it has maintained a brave face dismissing them as inconsequential.
The strategy appears to be one that ensures that even as Jubilee mobilises for an even bigger turnout in its strongholds, it should also eat into Jubilee’s support bases to ensure Raila’s vote tally gets even less. In last month’s election, President Uhuru defeated Raila by 1.5 million votes and by getting and even bigger margin, he would reduce Raila’s chances of claiming his election has been stolen.
So far, Raila has only concentrated on his strongholds during the few times he has left Nairobi.
While Raila and Nasa have celebrated the nullification of Uhuru’s win, what they have not acknowledged is that while the Supreme Court raised questions on the transmission of results, it was emphatic that they found nothing to suggest that Uhuru committed any illegality.
This is important because it proves that Jubilee ran a clean campaign but was let down by minor errors committed by some IEBC officials and hence Uhuru’s victory should not have been nullified.
Uhuru has also been quick to fight Nasa’s propaganda, for instance, its claims that by criticising Chief Justice David Maraga and the other judges who voided his victory, he was targeting the Gusii community, which gave him a lot of votes in the original election.
When he met 5,000 opinion leaders at State House in Nakuru, he reiterated again that he had no problem with the community and accused Raila of rushing to Kisii and Nyamira almost immediately after the ruling to incite them
According to the President, it is human to get angry and feel offended if one is robbed in broad daylight as keeping quiet will only cement the lie that he did something wrong.
Nasa was also dealt a major blow when former Meru governor Peter Munya decamped the outfit where he had been named as a principal eight days earlier, to back Uhuru’s re-election. This means any hope Raila had of getting some more votes in Meru have all but evaporated.
The resignation of former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar as Wiper secretary general, describing Nasa running mate Kalonzo Musyoka as unfocused is also a blow to Raila.
Even after Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi boasted that the region will not vote for Uhuru, Ruto was in the area on Friday and the attendance told a lot.
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