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Uhuru, Raila hidden cards as date with destiny approaches

President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga. (Photo: Courtesy)

It will be a week of long knives as Jubilee and NASA prepare to unleash the trump cards they have been hiding all along in the race to capture the country’s political power beneath each other’s feet.

In what is expected to be a tense political week, each side is marshaling its supporters, lawyers and strategists for a final duel that may change the course of Kenya’s politics irrevocably.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will on Sunday lead a prayer rally, will tomorrow hold a roadshow across Nairobi which will culminate into his final rally at Uhuru Park.

Final rallies

On their part, NASA will today have a roadshow in Trans Nzoia. On Monday Raila and his team will head to Kisii and Nyamira before travelling to Turkana on Tuesday. They will then hold their final rally in Machakos on Wednesday.

Among the cards that Uhuru is keeping close to his chest concerning the repeat election is whether or not he will sign the proposed amendments to the electoral laws passed by both houses of Parliament a week ago.

Sunday Standard understands the President, who was taken aback by the resignation of Commissioner Roselyn Akombe, anticipates that the chair of the commission Wafula Chebukati will also resign.

“He will definitely sign it. It is no longer about making a consideration. The election has to be held as ordered by the Supreme Court,” said a source at the Jubilee Party.

A last-minute effort by the Jubilee Party to force NASA leader Raila Odinga to participate in the polls and call off the protests through legal means became a cropper after the Supreme Court directed hearing for the case to October 27, a day after the election date.

With one of its cards checkmated by the Judiciary, Jubilee yesterday appeared to lay grounds for the signing of the electoral laws by advancing what looked like a conspiracy theory about the developments at the IEBC. It has also reintroduced its attacks to the Judiciary.

“With the IEBC, the first tactics include inducing the commissioners to resign at critical moments in the process so as to sabotage the elections. The second strategy is to commit them to make public statements that imply that the commission is unable to conduct elections on various excuses,” said government spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

“The key planks of the plan is bribery of compromised office holders in the Judiciary and IEBC with huge sums of money and use of violence to prevent Kenyans from voting for a presidential candidate of their choice,”  added Kiraithe.

Laws require 21 days after signing in order to be effected, which means if the President signs them tomorrow, they will be effective earliest on November 13, three weeks after the election. However, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kangata said the President will backdate them to September 25, two days after they were introduced to the house.

NASA has come up with a plan to neutralise the electoral laws immediately they are signed by going to court to challenge them. The expectation is the courts will give interim orders to suspend the implementation of the laws pending a full hearing.

According to them, the Bill awaiting presidential assent will need a referendum. NASA points that the proposed amendment to the definition of “chairperson” of the IEBC (as read with the proposed amendment to section 6 of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act goes against the Constitution.

In their argument, they claim Parliament does not have the powers to enact a law that permits an ordinary member of a commission to perform a function which the Constitution vests in the chairperson of the Commission.

“The law is clear, article 250 (2) of the Constitution notes that every constitutional commission shall have a chairperson and members, therefore the amendment touches on the Constitution and needs a referendum,” said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who is spearheading the opposition to the law in Parliament.

NASA maintains that Article 138 (10) of the Constitution reserves the function to declare presidential election results to the chairperson of the commission and not an ordinary member.

It, however, appears that the issue of the electoral laws is not the only setpiece in the game of thrones that both Jubilee and NASA are on an equal playing field because of the existence of an independent Judiciary. Jubilee appears to have an upper hand on whether the elections will be held on Thursday as scheduled.

State House is adamant that the elections will take place and has deployed its heaviest security operation yet to man the elections. This includes recruits from all the police training colleges and a huge fraction of members of the police service it recently withdrew from VIP protection services.

“Voting to elect leaders of our choice is a right that was hard won by our forefathers which we should guard jealously,” said Uhuru in his Mashujaa Day speech on Friday.

“To those threatening and intimidating the IEBC, its staff and other entities, this must cease forthwith,” he warned.

Yesterday, while on the campaign trail in Kitengela in Kajiado County, the President asked those who are not interested in the elections to keep off on voting day.

But with Raila having boycotted the poll and the question of legitimacy of the presidency arising, if Uhuru is re-elected, his party is projecting to get 10 million votes from the total ballots cast. Jubilee Party Vice Chairman David Murathe told Sunday Standard yesterday that their intention is to send a clear message across the world.

“There will be elections on Thursday and the turn out will be big, we have campaigned in all the regions in the country and people are optimistic. They are tired with circus by NASA and want to move on,” said Murathe.

Legitimacy question

He said the turnout in Jubilee strongholds will be near 100 per cent as most Kenyans want this election to come and go so that the country can move forward.

Sunday Standard understands that it is in the interest of NASA that fewer Kenyans participate in the poll and most importantly Uhuru gets less votes than he did in the nullified August elections.

“Legitimacy is not the act of holding elections under dubious circumstances but fulfillment of ownership and participation by the people. When people participate in a fair process, they own and accept the outcome even if it doesn’t favour them,” NASA principal Musalia Mudavadi told Sunday Standard.

“You cannot sit pretty on the throne when you know you cooked your way there. The shadows of those you cheated will hover all over haunting you,” he said.

The Opposition had earlier this week called its supporters to protest on voting day in what looks like a strategy to disrupt or prevent voting. Raila has, however, changed tack and asked his supporters to wait for a big announcement on Wednesday.

“I have already foreseen what is good for Kenyans and will ensure that I dock this ship where it deserves to be and where it will benefit all Kenyans,” he told a rally in Kisumu on Friday.

So far, all the moves Raila has played with regards to this election seem to have worked for him and the country can only guess whether the veteran politician has one more trump card under his sleeve. During the rally, Siaya Senator James Orengo warned that if Uhuru is sworn in, NASA will also swear in its president.

Some 14 governors and senators from NASA strongholds have vowed that no elections will take place in their jurisdiction without elaborating how this will be done. These are Mombasa, Tana River, Kilifi, Kisumu, Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga, Migori, Siaya, Homa Bay, Machakos, Makueni and Kitui.

“We are stating here today that our people in Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties will not participate in that sham election. And we are telling the government please do not waste your resources in Ukambani, our people will not be party to that joke of an election,” Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu told Sunday Standard.

Ngilu, Senator Enoch Wambua, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and Wiper Organising Secretary Robert Mbui will today start a roadshow across Ukambani from Mwingi which will culminate on Wednesday at the Machakos rally.

In the coastal region, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi will be addressing rallies across the region asking their supporters to stay away from the polls.

But with Raila out, Uhuru is expecting minimal competition from the opponents left in the race in case the polls go on without a hitch. But if the IEBC goes ahead and announces him the winner, the country should expect another duel at the Supreme Court.

“I don’t know what IEBC can do in the remaining days to remove the stain of carrying out an exercise in futility and later convince the court that it indeed carried out legitimate credible elections,” said Mudavadi.

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