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How opposition bungled its law referendum push

By Aden Duale | March 27th 2016 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

CORD has itself to blame for the grave mistakes that saw its Okoa Kenya initiative badly bungled.

Such an important process touching on the Constitution must be accorded due diligence given its potential ramifications.

As I make it clear that I do not speak for the commission which is an independent body, it behooves me as the Jubilee spokesman in the National Assembly to make a few observations.

From all the cases the IEBC has ruled in favour of CORD, like when it recently declined to strike off Senator Moses Wetang’ula’s name from the poll register to by-elections that their candidates carried the day, it has all been okay. Not until it announced one move that did not sit down well with CORD. When such happens, CORD’s first line of defence has been to call for disbandment of the IEBC. Recently, its leaders stormed the Anniversary Towers offices to try and arm-twist the commission and try to incite the masses against the body. This kind of blackmail must not be allowed to happen.

On the subject of referendum that the polls team just pronounced itself on, there were glaring blunders in the whole push by the opposition making it end in an anti-climax.

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I had my suspicion the moment we were told that CORD failed to submit a soft copy version of the signatures it had collected. Why would it choose the hard copy route if at all it was confident of its data?

Procedurally, CORD needed to first prepare a Bill proposing changes to the Supreme Law before collecting signatures from members of the public. Instead, it did the opposite. What then happens to an individual who appended his signature and later had a change of mind after seeing the Bill? Such a person could have easily moved to court and stopped the entire process even if the IEBC were to give it a clean bill of health.

By the end of the day, the opposition is guilty of forgery and trying to bulldoze the commission into approving an illegality, something we will not accept. The litany of fraud, theft, forgery and impunity is shocking.

It is astounding that a coalition hoping to lead the country someday could present to the IEBC records for verification with signatures, but without names, and IDs or passport numbers.

CORD has the inherent weakness of handling issues of national importance with a disturbing recklessness. It is crystal clear that it did not take the fundamental process of collecting signatures as seriously as demanded by the Constitution.

The IEBC has clearly laid out what torpedoed CORD’s referendum plans.

 

It has cited sufficient technical grounds to justify its decision to halt the plebiscite process dead on its tracks. But true to its character, CORD is refusing to accept this overwhelming body of evidence pointing to its utter shortcomings, and take corrective action.

Instead of looking inwardly for a solution, now CORD as it is wont is lashing out and conveniently blaming Jubilee and the electoral commission. Jubilee has no business absolutely in interfering with this exercise. What for?

What’s tragically apparent in CORD’s initiative is a myopic desire to score political points in a matter that has a bearing on the destiny of this country. Indeed if it had not shot itself in the foot by woefully bungling collection of signatures and the process had gone the full hog, it would have grabbed it as an opportunity to take on Jubilee in another round of political duel.

This is not what the sacrosanct process of a referendum is about. It’s not about sterile and mindless political games. It’s about the Constitution of Kenya. It’s about the lives of Kenyans. Basing such a fundamental process on shortsighted ends was bound to come a cropper and spectacularly so.

CORD’s refusal to accept that it messed big time in the collection of signatures reflects its ingrained inability to accept defeat, however resounding. It didn’t accept the 2013 poll results. Indeed it’s still in denial as we talk right now. And in what is ridiculously comical, going by its ceaseless gripes against IEBC, it has as good as rejected 2017 election long before the first ballot is cast.

I do not buy CORD’s claims that IEBC, as currently constituted, favours Jubilee. Perhaps I should jog its memory a bit, the commissioners were appointed by former President Mwai Kibaki together with his co-principal Raila Odinga, now the opposition head. So if there is anyone who should be complaining about its composition, it should be Jubilee.


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