Opposition’s key strategy that risks causing poll crisis

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang'ula

Fresh details have emerged that show NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga may not be keen on the October 26 elections.

Sources close to the goings on in NASA told Sunday Standard that NASA’s strategy is to force an election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta is either not in power which means a caretaker government would have taken over or a coalition government. 

In line with this strategy, NASA has introduced tough demands covered under an ‘irreducible minimum’ note to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. These conditions, NASA insists, must be met before a discussion on elections can take place.

But President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party insists that elections will proceed as scheduled amid revelations that his lawyers are headed back to Supreme Court.

It is also understood that the international players have insisted that elections should proceed and institutions must be respected. However, NASA is resolute that no elections can proceed under the current circumstances that inhibit a fair contest.

“We will have to ensure that for an election to take place, Kenyatta should not be holding state power. He benefited from it in 2013, and in August.  We see his influence on the election when he was President and we want him out first,” said a senior NASA politician who sought anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.


The politicians said NASA, which enjoys the support of more than half of the country, would not allow the election and had three cards on the table to ensure that elections are not held.

“We will not divulge them at the moment, but they are concrete, well thought-out and foolproof strategies that Jubilee may have not anticipated,” said the source.

When contacted for comment, NASA campaign chairman Musalia Mudavadi and Senator Moses Wetang’ula reiterated that there would be no elections unless their demands to introduce fair play are met.

“This is not negotiable, NASA coalition demands that fresh election should be administered by a professional and non-partisan officials. Partisan officials should step aside and or be suspended during the planning and execution of the fresh election.” said Mudavadi weeks after the Supreme Court invalidated the elections on account of irregularities and illegalities committed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Three days ago IEBC Wafula Chebukati moved the election from October 17 to 26.

But even before this, NASA leader Raila Odinga had declare that there will be no elections unless conditions to level the playing field and stamp out vote rigging are met.

Days after the Supreme Court delivered full judgment annulling President’s Kenyatta’s election, IEBC is walking a tightrope of managing a high-voltage election that has left a cloud of uncertainty hanging on the country’s political space.

It is also understood that NASA is planning demonstrations against IEBC this week to force the commission to effect internal changes. Similarly, Civil Society Development Group has written to Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett notifying him of their intention to hold peaceful demonstrations.

NASA’s hardline position and the ‘no election’ mantra seems to have attracted the attention of international players.

Saturday, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), through an advertisement in the print media, called on all actors in Kenya to reject those who seek to interfere with the constitutional order by disrupting or preventing the court-mandated fresh election.  The eight-country trading bloc said this would put in peril democratic change of government and usher a crisis from which others can seek undemocratic change of Government.

“Based on its prior assessment, we are confident that IEBC can execute its constitutional mandate to facilitate the expression by the Kenyan people of their sovereignty. IEBC must thus not be crippled from executing this mandate. Sabotaging IEBC or boycotting the elections will put Kenya in a constitutional crisis and likely on a path to Unconstitutional Change of Government,” read the Igad statement in part.

Things could get even thick for the country because as NASA looks at a post November elections possibility, it emerged that President Kenyatta’s lawyers were putting final touches on a Judicial review application to be filed in Supreme Court this week.

This revelation was also confirmed by Jubilee Party Vice Chairman David Murathe. Speaking to Sunday Standard, Mr Murathe said the petition for Judicial review will officially be filed this week with a view of having ballot boxes opened and manual counting of ballots as cast on August 8 election.

The Jubilee party Secretary General Raphael Tuju also dismissed the Opposition demands as unreasonable. He said the coalition’s demands that the election will take place under their terms was only aimed at muddying the waters.

“Our opponents have continually argued for an exclusive use of electronic system, and they have continually gone to court to stop anything else except the electronic system without manual backup,” he said.

He cited Germany that has decided to carry out their elections using a fully manual system without using the electronic system. “A country like Germany, with all its machinery,  has decided to go manual, who are we not to use the same system,” said Tuju.

Among the NASA conditions are the removal of IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba. Others that NASA has insisted must be sent on compulsory leave are Betty Nyabuto, the Deputy Commission Secretary (Operations); James Muhati (Director ICT) and Immaculate Kassait (Director Voter Registration and Elections Operations). NASA also said it wanted Praxedes Tororey (Director Legal and Public Affairs), Moses Kipkogey, (Manager Legal Department and Advisor to the CEO) out.

On Thursday, Tororey proceeded on a two months terminal leave after she opted to take early retirement.

NASA has said it is simply demanding a clear realistic plan to achieve transparency and accountability through the planning, implementation and audit phases.

Suna East MP Junnet Muhammed said NASA plans to move to court to bar President Kenyatta from hosting political delegations at State House during the campaign period.

“State House belongs to all Kenyans including the opposition, if President Kenyatta wants to host his political meetings let him go to Jubilee House or hire KICC or any other venue. If he continues then we will be forced to challenge this as an election offence,” said Junet.

NASA’s hardline position seems to have hit Jubilee administration. In his address to the nation on Thursday, the President waded into the political furor with the acknowledgement that the country was charting into legal uncertainties.

 “The judgment has also created uncertainties and raised matters that require legislative attention. I have therefore requested the Parliament should expeditiously address itself to the issues raised in order to protect our country from any ambiguities and or that may arise from this judgment,” he said.

As a consequence, plans are underway to introduce a series of amendments to laws and statutes. Meetings involving Jubilee MPs having been ongoing to identify legal provisions for amendments.

On Friday, Attorney General Githu Muigai stated he government position on legal implications ahead of the cancelled elections.