President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a spirited fight to defend his re-election in the October 26 repeat election.
In a 24-page response to the petition by Njonjo Mue and Khalef Khalifa seeking to nullify his re-election, the President tears into the conduct of the two, branding them as “surrogates, agents, and mouth-pieces” of the National Super Alliance (NASA) and its leaders.
According to the President, the two are not acting in public interest in their bid to scuttle his second term in office.
Uhuru accuses the petitioners of pushing a secret agenda which should not be entertained by the Supreme Court, arguing that that they were part of opposition protests to force changes at the electoral commission.
“From the outset, I must state that the petition was filed in bad faith at the behest of NASA to nullify the October 26 presidential results for the benefit of Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. Their petition consists of flip-flops and distorted narrative which do not present the true position,” said Uhuru.
Uhuru has gone all out to defend his presidency by blaming NASA for causing the current political crisis, stating that the petitioners joined the coalition to frustrate the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and ensure that no election took place on October 26.
He wants the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition and declare that he was validly re-elected through a fair, free and credible exercise.
The President states that he accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict on the August 8 presidential election and subjected himself to a repeat election where he was lawfully elected through a democratic, free and fair process despite the chaos and boycott instigated by the Opposition. He admits that although there was low voter turn-out during the fresh election and some constituencies not voting, these did not justify reasons advanced by the petitioners to invalidate his re-election.
“Prior to declaration of the successful candidate in the fresh presidential election, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati legally invoked the Elections Act to declare a return of results without the 27 constituencies which in any way could not affect the final results,” said Uhuru.
He also swears that the infighting and differences among IEBC commissioners leading to resignation of Roseline Akombe did not affect the validity of his re-election since they had no influence on the process and the outcome.
In any event, he stated Dr Akombe had assured the country in several statements that the commission was fully prepared for the repeat election, and that her statement soon after the resignation did not present the true position.
“Two weeks before her resignation, Akombe confirmed to the public that IEBC was ready and fully prepared for the elections and gave a comprehensive overview of the commission’s readiness. Her resignation could not therefore mean the commission was not ready for the exercise,” he said.
Uhuru further accuses the Opposition of coming up with several demands to IEBC to scuttle the fresh presidential election, and creating vigilante groups under the guise of peaceful protests to stop the commission from carrying out the exercise.
He argues that despite the Supreme Court findings on September 1 that no IEBC guilty of bungling the August 8 election, the Opposition was hell-bent on creating a crisis with the help of civil society groups who have now turned up to challenge his victory.
“The petitioners and NASA leaders joined together in a well-orchestrated and malicious campaign to malign, unfairly criticise named IEBC officials without any evidence to support their allegations,” stated Uhuru.
In his response, the President answers each and every allegation raised against him by the petitioners, stating that they are frivolous, vexatious and a waste of judicial time.
On prayers by the two activists that they be allowed to scrutinise IEBC servers and voter materials, the President argues that the two were not candidates in the presidential contest and have no right to access the information.
Uhuru further denied using State resources to drum up support for his re-election, and that Cabinet secretaries campaigned for him.
“It is not true that Cabinet secretaries were used to campaign for us. It is also not true that we used Government resources to advertise our achievements given that it was our obligation to be transparent and give the right information of what we have done,” he swore.
According to the President, there were no illegalities and irregularities witnessed during the fresh presidential election and that over 97 per cent of voters were identified electronically contrary to claims of ballot stuffing.
He also denies using intimidation and violence on Opposition supporters, and accused the petitioners of distorting facts. The two, he argues, are aware that it was NASA which sponsored streets protests and poll boycott.
“I was not responsible for any violence, voter intimidation, voter influence and corruption during the repeat polls. Allegations about using militia and Jubilee women brigade are untrue. The truth is that the women brigade was formed to encourage Kenyans to come out and vote,” he states.
He maintains IEBC conducted the fresh presidential election in accordance with the Constitution and relevant election laws. Uhuru argues IEBC should be commended for doing a good job under difficult circumstances.
On having Raila and Kalonzo on the ballot papers despite their withdrawal from the race, the President submits that the law is clear on how a candidate can legally withdraw from a poll and that the two did not comply with this.