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CORD: We will not be stopped in our quest to eject IEBC commissioners

By Rawlings Otieno and Peterson Githaiga | April 25th 2016 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

CORD leader Raila Odinga

Opposition leaders Sunday vowed to withstand any Government force employed to stop them from camping at the electoral agency offices.

CORD leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka said they will not be intimidated by the presence of the police to bar them from camping at the the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices.

"If they try to stop us using tear gas, the whole world will be watching. These jubilee leaders will be judged accordingly," said Raila.

He added: "However, I am passing this message to this government that Kenyans are not comfortable with this electoral body and its commissioners. Therefore, we are calling for its disbandment with immediate effect for failing Kenyans," said Raila.

Mr Musyoka said Kenyans will continue the push for the disbandment of the agency to ensure the next elections are free and fair.

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They said as currently constituted, IEBC cannot be entrusted to conduct free and fair elections next year.

"If it will not be overhauled and reconstituted before the 2017 polls, the State will be responsible for the repercussions that will follow. We are telling the Government to be bold enough and act on our concerns," said Raila.

They called on Kenyans to turn up at their respective counties and camp where the IEBC offices are located.

"We saw how IEBC manipulated the Kericho results and if a repeat of this will happen in the 2017 General Election, what will stop Kenyans from turning against each other?" asked Kalonzo.

He added: "We want free and fair competition because this country belongs to all of us."

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto said he was a witness of the alleged flawed Senate by-election in Kericho where a Kanu candidate was defeated by the Jubilee candidate.

Mr Ruto said a Government that does not listen to dissenting voices is bound to fail and asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to act with speed and have the IEBC overhauled.

Ruto said he regrets to be part of the Jubilee coalition because those sitting in the presidency have refused to listen to dissenting voices within its ranks.

The Opposition leaders, including five governors and more than 15 MPs, were speaking in Kitengela town, Kajiado County during a graduation ceremony for Maasai moran initiates.

Earlier in the day, the Opposition said it will stage a sit-in beginning today at the IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers to press for removal of the Issack Hassan-led team.

"We will not go into an election with the current IEBC in place. The referee must be fair. IEBC must go home," Raila said at St Stephen's Anglican Church Cathedral.

He spoke as the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) became the latest to join calls for the reconstitution of IEBC after the weekend's demand by the  National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).

Raila said the Opposition had every reason to ensure electoral reforms are in place if the elections are to be free and fair.

On Saturday during a rally at the Kamukunji grounds, CORD announced plans to forcibly eject IEBC commissioners from office.

They called on Kenyans to turn up in large numbers and join them in a procession to storm the IEBC offices and occupy the premises.

They vowed to camp at the offices until the commissioners voluntarily leave office or are ejected.

The IEBC Sunday termed the planned move by CORD as unfortunate and uncalled-for, adding that engagement with parties should be in an organised manner "devoid of intimidation, threats or malicious orchestrations".

The commission maintained it had been in constant communication with the CORD and had offered to meet a team from Okoa Kenya secretariat to explain the verification process that saw the Opposition's referendum push collapse but their plea was rejected.

"The commission remains committed to engagement with all players on all aspects of its work and the electoral process provided it is done within the law, with decorum and with due regard to its independence," said the statement by the commission's Communications and Public Affairs Manager Andrew Limo.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli argued that IEBC must be reconstituted if Kenya is to remain peaceful even after the 2017 polls.

Okoa kenya Raila Odinga Kalonzo Musyoka IEBC referendum
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