Mass action after voter registration definite – Opposition

Cord Co-Principal Moses Wetangula during anti-IEBC demos in 2015.
Cord Co-Principal Moses Wetangula during anti-IEBC demos in 2015. The opposition says it will resume mass action after the 30-day voter registration exercise over the amended election law that provides for a manual voter register backup.

Opposition leaders have once again threatened to resume mass protests against the recently passed amendments to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 that allowed for a manual backup system of voter identification and transmission of election results.

Speaking during a meeting of over 4,000 members and aspirants drawn from over 5 parties on Wednesday, January 11, the leaders insisted that the passage of the law was a deliberate attempt by the Jubilee government to influence the August 8 poll.

The Bomas of Kenya meeting, that sought to forge a united front ahead of the General Election, was highly anticipated to be, among other things, a declaration of mass action but the opposition refused to play into what they described as the ‘Jubilee trap’ to redirect their focus from the second mass voter registration exercise.

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“We have not convened to deploy for mass action as Jubilee had hoped. That remains on our radar but not in the next thirty days,” said Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader, Raila Odinga.

CORD had on December 24, 2016 announced it would be rallying their supporters for mass protests from January 4, hours after the National Assembly passed poll law amendments during a special sitting.

Five days later, the coalition called off the protests saying they would be observing how the Senate would be handling the changes to the law before making a determination on the way forward.

However, a Senate special sitting on January 5 passed the changes on the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 effectively allowing a manual backup to the electronic voter register amid claims that Speaker Ekwee Ethuro had allowed unauthorized Senators to vote.

“After the massive voter registration, we will get back to major demonstrations until even the rats in the bushes join us,” said Machakos Senator, Johnstone Muthama.

CORD insists that the changes to the election law are unacceptable and the push to have the provision for a manual backup removed will head to the street after the thirty-day exercise.

“We condemn the election law amendments and we will accept nothing but a credible and fair elections,” Siaya Senator, James Orengo, said.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Ford Kenya, Wiper Democratic Movement, Amani National Congress and KANU resolved to support one presidential candidate in a move to oust President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto whom they have accused of overseeing the ‘worst looting of public resources since independence’.

“We will continue with our demos to oppose the Election laws if the government does not issue a vacate order,” reiterated Senator Moses Wetangula.

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Story By Eric Ndubi
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