Raila: I’m ready to face Uhuru in fair polls

Lead­ers say they are pre­pared for face-off with Ju­bilee Party duo pro­vided IEBC cleans its house

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TI­TUS OTEBA otioteba@gmail.com

Na­tional Su­per Al­liance (Nasa) lead­ers yes­ter­day af­firmed that they are ready for the Oc­to­ber 17 re­peat pres­i­den­tial election. How­ever, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Raila Odinga said they will not go to the election if the com­mis­sion does not re­place some com­mis­sion­ers and also ap­point another firm to print the election ma­te­ri­als.

Na­tional Su­per Al­liance (Nasa) lead­ers yes­ter­day af­firmed that they are ready for the Oc­to­ber 17 re­peat pres­i­den­tial election.

Ad­dress­ing a charged crowd at the funeral of Kan­duyi MP Wa­fula Wa­mun­yinyi’s fa­ther Mathew Wa­fula at Buema vil­lage in Bun­goma County, the Nasa team, how­ever, de­manded that the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) first puts its house in or­der to en­sure a free and fair poll.

Nasa pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Raila Odinga said that they will not go to the election if the com­mis­sion does not re­place some com­mis­sion­ers and also ap­point another firm to print the election ma­te­ri­als. Al Ghu­rair Group printed the bal­lot pa­pers used on Au­gust 8.

The cer­e­mony was mo­men­tar­ily dis­rupted af­ter an­gry mourn­ers heck­led and roughed up two MPS who are sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s re­elec­tion.

Kim­ilili MP Did­mus Barasa (Ju­bilee) and his Bu­mula coun­ter­part Mwambu Mabonga (In­de­pen­dent) had a rough time ad­dress­ing the crowd that was chant­ing anti-ju­bilee slo­gans.

Things got out of hand af­ter an un­apolo­getic Mr Barasa told the youths that their fam­i­lies will never pro­duce lead­ers if they dis­re­spect elected MPS.

“Dis­re­spect­ing elected lead­ers will lead to a curse and you might never pro­duce one in your en­tire gen­er­a­tion,” he said.

His sen­ti­ments did not go down well with the mourn­ers who heck­led, ac­costed and roughed him up.

Nasa lead­ers and their se­cu­rity de­tail in­ter­vened af­ter which or­der was re­stored.

At some point, Ton­garen MP Eseli Simiyu and some youths tried to get Mr Mwambu to go to the dais and de­clare his stand on the pres­i­den­tial election but he re­mained calm in his seat.

“Come for­ward and talk to mourn­ers. They want to get your stand on whether you sup­port Nasa or Ju­bilee,” said Dr Simiyu.

Things got out of hand when the rowdy youths surged to­wards the VIP tents os­ten­si­bly to eject the two Ju­bilee lead­ers from the venue.

It was Bun­goma Sen­a­tor Moses We­tang’ula and Mr Wa­mun­yinyi who saved the sit­u­a­tion.

“Let us for­give them, I know they now un­der­stand that Ju­bilee has got no place in this re­gion. Let us give them time to think for them­selves if they will sup­port the right cause,” said Mr We­tang’ula.

Ad­dress­ing the mourn­ers, Mr Odinga said Nasa will push for the re­moval of IEBC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) Ezra Chiloba whom he ac­cused of work­ing with Ju­bilee.

“I have some Luhya lead­ers cry­ing foul that we in Nasa are tar­get­ing their own, we are not in­ter­ested in fight­ing peo­ple from cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties, we are look­ing at the sins that per­son com­mit­ted, there is glar­ing ev­i­dence that Chiloba has been go­ing to bed with Ju­bilee lead­ers,” he said.

The for­mer pre­mier noted that Nasa was not fight­ing for the re­moval of Mr Chiloba and eight other IEBC of­fi­cials be­cause of their tribe but be­cause they bun­gled the Au­gust 8 Gen­eral Election in favour of Ju­bilee.

“We want par­ti­san IEBC of­fi­cials re­moved, PROS and Re­turn­ing Of­fi­cers shuf­fled from their cur­rent sta­tions so that we can ac­cept that the next pres­i­den­tial election will be free and fair,” he said.

He called on Pres­i­dent Keny­atta and his Deputy Wil­liam Ruto to stop un­der­min­ing the Ju­di­ciary to force judges to be sub­mis­sive to them.

“Both IEBC and the Ju­di­ciary are in­de­pen­dent bod­ies which should be re­spected and not in­ter­fered with. Let them per­form their du­ties pro­vided they are do­ing the right thing,” he said.

On his part, Mr Odinga’s run­ning mate Kalonzo Musyoka said that peace will pre­vail if the re­peat election is free and fair.

“Let Ju­bilee lead­ers un­der­stand that they were not elected by ma­jor­ity Kenyans but they were com­puter gen­er­ated; we need real lead­ers that will be ac­cepted by Kenyans through a free and fair election for peace to pre­vail,” he said.

He said that Ju­bilee lead­ers were tar­get­ing West­ern and East­ern re­gions to get more votes by en­tic­ing lead­ers with good­ies and vis­its to State House.

“They are try­ing to co­erce our lead­ers to sup­port them but let me tell you even in Ukam­bani those peo­ple who went to State House are re­gret­ting why they did so.

“West­ern and East­ern re­gions are locked in Nasa and will vote for its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date,” said Mr Musyoka.

Nasa co-prin­ci­pals Musalia Mu­davadi and Mr We­tang’ula asked the Luhya com­mu­nity to rally be­hind Mr Odinga.

“We want you peo­ple to move out in large num­bers and vote for Raila, what we want is change, Bun­goma has never been Ju­bilee home turf, our peo­ple are in Nasa and will vote for their pre­ferred leader,” said Mr We­tang’ula.

Mr Mu­davadi chal­lenged IEBC of­fi­cials to be neu­tral if they want Nasa to par­tic­i­pate in the re­peat race, warn­ing that they will not ac­cept to be led by cor­rupt in­di­vid­u­als who will work with Ju­bilee to un­der­mine Nasa.

“We want the France-based in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vided the election servers to be kicked out be­cause it re­fused to open its servers even af­ter the Supreme Court or­der and went ahead to claim that it did a won­der­ful job,” he said.

JARED NYATAYA | NA­TION

Nasa prin­ci­pals Raila Odinga, left, and Moses We­tan­gula, cen­tre, at the funeral of Mzee Matthew Wa­fula Wa­mun­yinyi, fa­ther of Kan­duyi MP Wa­fula Wa­mun­yinyi, at his home in Buema Vil­lage, Bun­goma County.

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