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UDA writes to Chebukati seeking to bar CSs from election campaigns

POLITICS
By Mireri Junior | October 30th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto with UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok at a past press conference. [File, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has continued their onslaught against Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang'i (Interior) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) for openly supporting ODM leader Raila Odinga.

UDA on Saturday wrote a protest letter to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the inclusion of the two Cabinet secretaries into multi-agency team planning for a free, fair and transparent General Election.

In the letter dated October 29, UDA wants Matiang’i and Mucheru removed from the team since they are openly campaigning for Raila's candidature.

Through its Secretary-General Veronica Maina, UDA  also wants the electoral body to stop the CSs from meddling in the election preparations and instead take charge of the exercise as per the law.

Maina said it was wrong and dangerous for IEBC to allow CS Matiang'i to dictate to it how to prepare for the election when it is their constitutional mandate to carry out elections.

“Elections are a democratic process that has nothing to do with government functionaries. Article 81 of the Constitution is clear that free, fair and credible elections are administered in an impartial manner and free from intimidation and improper influence,” UDA said.

UDA accused the CSs of violating the Constitution by being partisan despite the role the two ministries are supposed to play in the preparation of the election hence should resign.

 “The two CSs have been acting in a blatant manner yet the two ministries they head form a core part in providing support services in the coordination of next year’s General Election,” she said.

Earlier in the week Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto demanded the resignation of the two CSs over claims that they are partisan and have pledged to rally behind ODM leader Raila who is eying the presidency in the next year's polls.

Speaking at Ruto’s official Karen residence in Nairobi yesterday, the leaders said it was wrong to have partisan CSs who control the police force and ICT where the Communications Authority of Kenya is domiciled. They noted that the authority works with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the coordination of elections.

“We cannot allow the people who are ministers in such critical ministries at such a time like this to be partisan,” said Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro.

“And if the president for whatever reason requires these two ministers to be in his government, then he can move them to other dockets that have nothing to do with the elections,” argued Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.

The MPs were reacting to a meeting convened by IEBC on Monday that was attended by Dr Matiang’i, Mr Mucheru, Chief Justice Martha Koome, and other stakeholders on 2022 election preparedness.

UDA in the letter maintained that with the two declaring their support for Raila, the election might not be free and fair 

The SG said the law prohibits state officers from engaging in political activities that might compromise the neutrality of the offices they hold.

The party told IEBC that the free will of the people of Kenya to elect a person of their choice is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away or stifled.

UDA also challenged the Executive and the Judiciary to stick to their lanes and allow Wanjiku to express her right to vote come next year’s General.

The two CSs attended a meeting convened by IEBC on October 25 that was also attended by Chief Justice Martha Koome, and other stakeholders on 2022 election preparedness.

Speaking in Nyamira a week ago, Matiang’i declared support for the handshake and whatever plans of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

“I have now told you where I am. I cannot be where Raila Odinga and President Uhuru are not,” said the CS in Nyamira.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa defended the CSs decision to back the ODM leader stating that their mandate as members of Cabinet is to assist the President in the decisions he makes.

“As CSs we are the President’s workers. We are appointed to assist the President. if you have been appointed to assist the President, can you resist the President? If he says handshake between him and Raila will bring peace in the country, then as CS we will join him,” said Wamalwa in Nyamira last week.

Early in the year, Mucheru publicly dismissed Ruto’s bottom-up economic model and termed his campaign strategy archaic.

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