Pay IEBC chiefs willing to go home, CORD leaders urge government

CORD leader Raila Odinga and Kilifi County Women Representative Asha Jumwa address supporters in Malindi town yesterday. The coalition leaders have embarked on a two-day tour of Coast. [PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD]

CORD leader Raila Odinga, Senators Johnstone Muthama and James Orengo yesterday piled pressure on commissioners of the electoral commission to resign as they embarked on a two-day tour of Coast.

Raila called for electoral reforms to create a level playground before next year’s elections.

He demanded that Jubilee should negotiate with CORD in good faith because “electoral reform is not something that should be taken lightly.”

Mr Muthama said all Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners willing to resign should be paid and allowed to go home.

Raila claimed Jubilee has been reluctant to initiate reforms in IEBC and allow the commissioners to leave.

Muthama alleged that Jubilee had fostered corruption in key government projects in Coast and has failed to ensure effective land reform.

“IEBC chairman Isaak Hassan and the commissioners are wearing Jubilee’s uniform,” said Raila while addressing a rally at Cleopatra Grounds in Malindi town.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed also called on the commissioners to leave office saying the blood of those killed in protests against the electoral commission was not be in vain.

Busia County MP Florence Mutua questioned the Jubilee’s government’s handling of the tribal violence on the Kisumu and Nandi counties borders. She wondered why the police cannot use the same force meted against protestors in Kisumu to quell the clashes.

Senator Stewart Madzayo claimed Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery was issuing unconstitutional decrees against free speech and assembly to silence the Opposition.

Malindi MP Willy Mtengo claimed the state was clamping on free speech in the guise of combating hate speech.

Raila addressed supporters at the Malindi airport, Dream Africa hotel and later at Cleopatra Grounds in Malindi town where he said Jubilee will not win over the Coast despite appointment of opposition leaders to Cabinet.

The leaders demanded justice for those killed or injured by police during anti-IEBC protests in Nyanza and Nairobi.

Kilifi County MP Aisha Jumwa, who was recently charged over alleged hate speech declared that although Jubilee and CORD politicians had agreed to reconcile, the police must investigate alleged calls for assassination of Raila by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

“Threatening Raila is like threatening the whole nation,” said Ms Jumwa. The CORD leaders said they were on a mission to preach peace and prepare the ground for a fair election next year.

The leaders were hosted by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, Senator Madzayo and Mr Mtengo.

Raila described the eight politicians charged over hate speech claims as “political prisoners” arguing that under Kenyan law they ought to have been charged in court within 24 hours of arrest.

“CORD leadership is condemning the act by the police to arrest the politicians and detain them in police cells for four days without trial as that is a violation of the country’s Constitution and human rights,” said Raila who accused the state of humiliating elected leaders through violent arrest.

The former Prime Minister said the government should have instead summoned the leaders to shade light on the hate speech allegations.

“The arrested leaders are elected to represent their people and there was no way they could have run away when police needed them,” said Raila who accused the Jubilee administration of using police to reintroduce oppressive rule.

Raila promised to accompany all the leaders including Kuria to preach peace in their home counties.

“It was violation of the elected leaders’ human rights to deny them access to meet their relatives, friends and even their friends like me,” said Raila. He said ODM and CORD still enjoys the support of Coast saying that was demonstrated during the Malindi by election.

“I was here in Malindi recently when we were campaigning for our candidate Mtengo for the Malindi by election, a seat which was created after the appointment of area former MP Dan Kazungu as a Cabinet Secretary for Mining and we won it,” said Raila.

Today, the leaders will be at Pwani University for a meeting before going for the burial of a Kilifi nominated MCA.