The curtains look like they are finally falling on Raila Amolo Odinga’s political career. By boycotting the elections, he is simply saying he has thrown in the towel. There were really limited options after the August 8 General Election.
There may have been mistakes here and there in the process of transmitting results. The electoral commission is not infallible. As it is said, human is to error. Also, the electoral gadgets, however advanced they are, can experience hitches. Such shortcomings are not exception to us. Even developed countries have their fair share of electoral challenges. But whenever any dispute arises as to the authenticity of the results, the solution lies in delving into the ballot papers to ascertain whether or not spoilt votes and mistakes made by the electoral team are significant enough to alter the final results.
It is a pity that this fundamental aspect of natural justice was not taken into consideration before the presidential election was annulled. That is water under the bridge now. Jubilee accepted the ruling and moved on. But Raila has cashed in on for all it is worth to push the country to the edge.
Evidently, the ruling gave him a political lifeline which he is tenuously clinging onto for political survival. But however much he clutches onto this ruling, the fact is that his political career is on the verge of coming to a halt. He may misuse jobless youths by bringing them to the streets to protest for so long as he wants. He may boycott as many elections as he wants, but the truth is retirement is beckoning on him.
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The charade by the Opposition will not alter the fact that democracy prevailed in the August 8 polls. Jubilee won resoundingly and NASA was comprehensively beaten. And it is quite simple to anyone other than Raila to discern how he lost. NASA was banking on undivided support of regions such as western, Coast, Kisii and Kajiado to ride to victory. They had also counted on Rift Valley to get as much as 30 per cent. When the elections were conducted and votes tallied, it emerged that their plans had spectacularly backfired. They had obviously overstated their projected figures in every region. The 1.5 million votes that Isaac Ruto had promised to deliver from the South Rift became just an empty promise.
Contrast that with Jubilee. The ruling party not only maintained its strongholds but aggressively made forays into what was perceived to be NASA’s turf. After losing such considerable ground, how was it possible for NASA to win? When Jubilee made impressive forays in Western region and won big in Kisii, Kajiado and Narok, Raila’s chances were irreparably dented.
Certainly the 1.5 million votes they were banking on in South Rift were not stolen. If they had, Isaac Ruto would have gone court to contest the results. After losing heavily to Joyce Laboso in the race for governor, Ruto accepted defeat honourably and quickly joined the winning team. In the entire Rift Valley, NASA barely got 10 per cent, a far cry from the 30 per cent they were eyeing.
It therefore does not make sense for NASA to claim any victory of any nature. Where are their numbers? Which regions specifically were Raila’s votes stolen? Having lost substantial ground in every region with no probability whatsoever of ever overturning these formidable numbers, the only option for him is to avoid the elections under the pretext that IEBC is partisan and needs to be overhauled. This is the same tired argument we have always been fed with. The world should know that Raila has boycotted the repeat polls not because of any issue with the electoral commission. Not because forms 34A,B,C had serious anomalies. And definitely not because these forms did not have water marks or were not properly signed. He has skipped the polls to avoid another humiliating defeat which was bound to be as heavy as that of August 8.
In fact, it could be worse. Raila should live up to his democratic credentials, own up, spare Kenyans the charade and go into retirement. Kenyans cannot be hoodwinked any further. It is now abundantly clear that this entire circus we are being subjected to is out of Raila’s frustration after failing in his ultimate dream to attain power.
After August 8, all avenues for him to get to State House were effectively shut. And one of the reasons his presidential ambition is no longer feasible is because he entered into a MoU with the other NASA principals. But he is refusing to go down silently; he is trying to pull the country down with him. It is time he left Kenyans in peace.
- The writer is the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly.