The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced March 4, 2013, as the election date, saying it had failed to get Kibaki and Raila to commit to bringing the coalition to an end to allow for elections in December.
Allies of the President say the impasse came about because it was not clear if ending the coalition would trigger the dissolution of Parliament, leading to an election, or create a constitutional crisis. ODM, however, suspects it was not a coincidence that the IEBC made its announcement four days after the President made his preference known.
Respect courtâs decision
In a quick rejoinder, however, the Head of President Kibakiâs Press Service Unit, Isaiya Kabira, says the President was not stating a preference, only settling on the only viable court-provided option. Kabira points out that the President "has already stated that he will respect the decisions of the courts with regard to the election date". The Appeals Court ruling on the same matter is set for next week.
"An election date is an important calendar event in any nation. President Kibaki is fully aware of this (and has no reason to delay it). Indeed, it begs the question of what can he do in (an extra) three months that he will not have done in his ten years as President or over 55 years in service to our country," he said.
Recently, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua asked the President and Prime Minister to demonstrate statesmanship by dissolving the Grand Coalition Government in time for a December General Election. In an open letter to the principals, Karua said the dissolution of Government was an option given by the recent electoral court ruling. The Appeal Court ruling next week may help settle the question of whether dissolution will make a December poll possible.
As the country moves closer to the first election under the new constitution and the Kibaki succession, the feuding between the two coalition partners is likely to intensify. Within the Raila camp, much of the anger arises from the feeling that the President, through the national security apparatus, has allowed Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto to discredit Raila at public rallies across the country. The two ICC accused plan to contest the presidency despite pending trials in The Hague, taking on perceived frontrunner, Raila.
The thinking within the PMâs corner is that the Presidentâs handling of the ICC question favours the two. Indeed, this is what informed the recent remark from the Raila Secretariat that Uhuru and Ruto belong in jail while awaiting trial.
Reached for comment, however, Ruto was categorical that President Kibaki was not the type to sponsor rallies for other people. He said blaming the President for the rallies suggested a poor understanding of how Government works.
"Tinga (PM) and his team must be trapped in (thoughts of) the old order where the Provincial Administration was used to stifle the peopleâs constitutional right of freedom of assembly and speech," reacted Ruto. The MP opines that ODM should learn to sort out its problems without dragging in other players: "If the prayer rallies are the issue, then why donât they organise their own rallies and pray for those they wish to pray for?"
Kabira adds that asking the President to stop one group from peacefully propagating its views is calling for him to stop being neutral.