Jubilee Party has vowed to continue with its presidential campaigns while preparing to face off with fringe candidates following NASA candidate Raila Odinga's withdrawal from the race.
The Jubilee legal team is also understood to be working on strategies to ensure that President Uhuru Kenyatta is declared president-elect by the electoral commission in the event he is the only nominated candidate.
Jubilee yesterday welcomed the High Court ruling allowing Thirdway Alliance candidate Ekuru Aukot into the race, amid reports that the ruling coalition would encourage other fringe candidates to seek to participate in the October 26 poll.
High Court Judge John Mativo gave Dr Aukot a lifeline in the coming election. IEBC had restricted the contest to Uhuru and Raila.
The Jubilee leadership yesterday reportedly made frantic calls to Aukot to persuade him not to drop out of the race, the way Raila did.
These manoeuvres happened even as the Jubilee leadership sought legal advice on the way forward and how to ensure Uhuru carries the day.
Spearheading the process is former Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga and the President’s legal adviser, Abdikadir Mohammed, who were also behind the drafting of the controversial election laws and other related amendments before Parliament.
“Our leaders have been holding consultations with the Jubilee leadership on the way forward. Raila has decided to pull out of the race and this is not the end of the country. One person cannot hold us to ransom,” said a Jubilee legislator from Central Kenya.
He continued: “Raila is taking this country for a ride. Now we are going to seal all loopholes to ensure President Kenyatta is sworn in.”
Sources confided to The Standard that Jubilee is reaching out to presidential candidates save for Cyrus Jirongo, whom the court has declared bankrupt, to participate in the election by seeking the court's intervention.
Also, Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto, have resolved to continue with their campaigns even as they wrapped up their Coast region tour.
“If Raila thinks his withdrawal will delegitimise President Kenyatta’s election, he is wrong. We have options. If Aukot does not play ball, we have the other candidates,” said a senator, adding that some of the legislators are working with the Jubilee legal team.
“Kenyatta will be the president after October 26. We will have our way.”
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju described Raila's decision as ill-advised and defeatist. Mr Tuju explained that Jubilee would continue with its campaigns until President Kenyatta wins the October 26 repeat election.
Tuju said they would not be distracted by 'side shows'. “When the Supreme Court ruled that we go for an election in 60 days, we did not agree with the decision but we respected it and moved on. We will not be dragged into the confusion, as our opponents want,” he said.
President Kenyatta would campaign until a day before the elections, when Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission calendar will stop the exercise, according to Tuju.
“There are those who thought the sun will not rise because our opponent had withdrawn from the contest. It will continue to shine and set tomorrow; a single individual cannot control the entire country,” said Tuju.
He added: “The Opposition wants to selectively pick what to agree with in the ruling and what not to. This is a bad precedent. Kenyans now know their intentions,” said Tuju.
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo/Marakwet), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Irungu Kangata (Muranga), Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu), Beth Mugo (Nominated), and Isaac Mwaura (Nominated) expressed their disappointment over the Raila withdrawal a fortnight to the poll.
“Raila has decided to remove himself, in complete disobedience of the orders of the Supreme Court to participate in the poll and is now playing victim,” said Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.