By Christian Smith
Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate for NASA and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka have withdrawn from the October 26 re-election, citing “illegalities.”
Mr Odinga, whose legal challenge led the Court to nullify the August 8 elections noted that proponents of an election without reforms are saying “bora uchaguzi” (any election will do).
But, he stated that his party was “calling for “uchaguzi bora (a credible election).”
In a statement, the opposition leader said: “On August 8 Kenyans voted in the 6th election since the return to multiparty politics in 1992—the political reform we call the Second Liberation. As is customary, voting went smoothly. But when it came to tallying and transmission of results, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It became the first presidential election in Africa to be annulled by the court, and only the fourth in the world.
“In the aftermath, the annulment has plunged the country into uncharted waters. That was to be expected. What we would not have expected is that the country’s leadership would be divided by a fundamental tenet of democracy, namely free and fair elections.
“We at Nasa have insisted that the fresh election ordered be held to the standard ordered by the Supreme Court, that is, in strict conformity with the Constitution and written law. We have provided a checklist of what we deem to be the “irreducible minimum” changes required to ensure compliance.
“The validity of the checklist of the requirements for free and fair elections proposed by Nasa has not been disputed by anyone, not by the IEBC, not by Jubilee or other actors and observers. The EU Observer Mission recommendations are in conformity with our ‘irreducible minimum.”
“Instead, the case for proceeding with the fresh election on 26 October without these changes is being made on the grounds of time constraints. Jubilee and the other proponents of an election without reforms are saying “bora uchaguzi” (any election will do). But we in Nasa are calling for “uchaguzi bora” (a credible election).
Mr Odinga, 72 argued that “in a constitutional democracy, we should not be debating about a free and fair election, or compliance with court orders, or accountability for breach of public trust. We should have been working together to ensure that we uphold these values as they are not only our national values but are also the foundations of a credible electoral system.”
He explained that: “the IEBC has stonewalled meaningful deliberations on the necessary reforms to ensure that the elections of 26th October are free and fair. It has wasted valuable time engaging in public relations exercises intended to create the illusion of motion without any movement.
“We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel to ensure that the “illegalities and irregularities” that led to the invalidation of the 8th August poll do not happen again. All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one.”
The 72-year-old who served as the second Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013 and Leader of the Opposition since 2013, has called for Kenyans to boycott the elections, using the slogan “no reform, no elections.”
In response, President Uhuru Kenyatta says the election would go ahead as scheduled, even if his opponent’s name does not appear on the ballot.