What next after Jubilee, CORD disagree on IEBC issue?
The IEBC disbandment debate re-emerged Wednesday as both CORD and Jubilee recoiled in their cocoons and resumed their hardline stand on the issue.
While CORD leaders Raila Odinga and Moses Wetangula asserted that they would not settle for a Parliamentary process in seeking a solution to the impasse, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have accused the opposition of attempting to circumvent the laid out Constitutional procedure of removing IEBC commissioners saying the only way to go is through Parliament.
State House meeting
Many had hoped that the Tuesday State House meeting between Raila and Wetangula and President Kenyatta and DP Ruto would bring to an end the deadlock that had prompted CORD to take to the streets in their four thwarted attempts to storm IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers and forcefully remove the commissioners from office.
In their separate speeches, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to having met though details of the meeting still remain scanty.
Speaking in Nakuru, Uhuru said he had used the State House meeting to invite CORD leaders to Madaraka Day celebrations in Nakuru, wondering why they did not show up.
Raila, in his response, said that they had told Uhuru that they would not attend the event because the invite had been issued late, days after they had completed plans for their Uhuru Park rally.
The seats reserved for both Raila and Wetangula, and one reserved for Amani National Congress (ANC) Musalia Mudavadi remained unoccupied throughout the event.
CORD co-principal Moses Wetangula has revealed that they had discussed the IEBC issue though not conclusively and hinted of a follow-up meeting to iron out the outstanding issue, but raised questions on the change of tone in both camps during their respective Wednesday rallies.
CORD had suspended their weekly protests to give dialogue a chance, but almost a week later, no headway has been made on the matter.
A meeting of a Parliamentary conclave formed by a section of CORD and Jubilee legislators failed to make any significance progress, with Siaya Senator James Orengo rubbishing the team terming their attempts as an exercise in futility.
CORD has insisted that they will return to the streets on Monday if there is no progress in their demands for dialogue insisting that the talks should be at the presidency level.
The real issue
The opposition coalition’s issue with IEBC began immediately after the 2013 elections after the commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta President.
Raila’s attempts to seek reprieve at the Supreme Court did not yield fruits as the court threw out their case on a technicality.
CORD reignited the anti-IEBC debate last year after they accused the commissioners of colluding with Jubilee government to rig President Uhuru Kenyatta back into office in the 2017 General Elections.
The coalition leader Raila Odinga claims that the commissioners have been promised government jobs if they rig the elections in favour of Uhuru Kenyatta, allegations that IEBC chair Issack Hassan has vehemently refuted.
Issack has termed CORD’s allegations as malicious saying their position as public servants has exposed them to ridicule and defamation by the opposition.
He said that they would only resign if Raila and his team backed their claims with proof noting their focus now is on delivering a free and fair election in 2017.
Though Jubilee has maintained its confidence in the commission, some of its legislators have openly declared that they would support CORD’s agenda if it was followed the Parliamentary process.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, for instance, has openly said he will support the removal of IEBC commissioners if the right channel are followed.
Other Jubilee leaders including National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senate’s Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen have, however, expressed their faith in the commission urging CORD to forward their grievances to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
CORD’s reason against seeking a parliamentary solution is that Jubilee has often used its tyranny of numbers in Parliament to frustrate its motions.
The coalition noted that Wafula Buke’s motion seeking for the removal of IEBC commissioners over their alleged involvement in the Chickengate scandal that links them to the illegal procurement of BVR kits before the 2013 elections was shot down by Jubilee legislators before it even reached the floor of the House.
In the next four days, all attention will be on the two coalitions to see if they will agree on a way forward regarding the reformation talks to avert another anti-IEBC protest, which has so far had unspeakable implications on business in Nairobi’s CBD and led to the death of three people in Siaya and Kisumu.
Raila Odinga, addressing CORD supporters at Uhuru Park, said that the coalition would release the names of five legislators who will represent them in the dialogue protest and hoped that Jubilee would do the same.
If Ruto’s speech during Madaraka Day celebrations is anything to go by, however, CORD should expect resistance from police during their planned Monday protests, something Raila said they are ready for.
Ruto said that just like the government allowed CORD to hold their rally at Uhuru Park following a court ruling on Tuesday, the opposition should abide by the ruling that apparently illegalizes their protests.
Raila, however, laughed-off Ruto’s remarks saying: “We are not afraid of teargas. If the dialogue process will not have begun before Monday, we will return to the streets to express our grievances.”
“I have spoken to Nkaissery and told him that no amount of teargas will stop our people from expressing their opinion against IEBC. We are ready for Monday.”
Wetangula has also hit out at Ruto over his remarks saying the court order does not bar CORD from holding the protests but require them to do so in a peaceful manner.
The ruling, allowing CORD to hold protests, was made after five Jubilee MPs moved to court last month seeking to stop CORD from holding anti-IEBC marches.
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