Oct 22, 2017 |
Raila Odinga told his supporters not to expect any dialogue, saying time had run out for such talks. Instead, he said, Kenyans should wait for his word on October 25 – the eve of the now controversial repeat presidential elections – when he says he will make a big announcement on the next course of action.
Speaking during the burial of his brother-in-law Caleb Yaya in Usenge town, Siaya County, yesterday, Raila said President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were not ready for dialogue and insisted there will be no election on Thursday.
“The room for dialogue ended on October 10 when I announced my withdrawal from the forthcoming elections. I will speak to the nation on Wednesday to give the way forward,” he said.
Pleas from Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli for Raila to talk to President Kenyatta fell on deaf ears. Mr Atwoli, who spoke earlier at the funeral, asked the two presidential candidates to hold talks for the sake of the country.
“Dialogue is the key to resolving the current stalemate. The official position of workers in this country is to have the elections postponed,” said Atwoli.
But Raila, who was accompanied by Governors Cornell Rasanga (Siaya), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) and Anyan’g Nyon’go (Kisumu), said time for such talks had ended.
The NASA leader said the opposition will use all available options to ensure the Jubilee administration does not ascend to power through the back door.
He accused Jubilee of plotting to retain power through unconstitutional means, but warned that Kenyans will not tolerate such. He also warned against police brutality on protesters, especially in Nyanza.
“The manner in which this government is deploying police officers in Nyanza is a clear indication that they have profiled this community as aliens,” he said.
He claimed the government had deployed hundreds of military officers in NASA strongholds, especially in Nyanza, under the guise of providing security during the elections but with an aim of hurting his supporters.
Raila also accused Jubilee of forcing the election down the throats of Kenyans “even after it became clear that the IEBC was not prepared to conduct the poll in a free and fair manner”.
“Kenyans must not be forced into an election which they know will not be free and fair. All indications are that the IEBC is in a sorry state of affairs,” he said. Governor Nyong’o insisted that NASA will not participate in Thursday’s election.
“The IEBC chairman and a former commissioner have spoken and we have every reason not to participate in this election,” he said.
Church leaders and the business community have been calling on Raila and President Kenyatta to hold talks and save the country from plunging into a political and constitutional crisis should the elections fail to go on as planned.
Meanwhile, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion has asked IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati to cancel Thursday’s repeat presidential election to avoid chaos.
Mr Sossion said Chebukati should call the elections off to allow room for adequate preparations having confessed that the commission could not guarantee credible polls on Thursday.
He warned that proceeding with the election on Thursday would plunge the country into a crisis that could lead to bloodshed.
He said only dialogue between President Kenyatta and Raila could save the country. Constitutional crisis “The country is founded on the principals of love, peace and unity, all of which are missing ahead of Thursday’s election.
We have therefore consulted labour movements and concluded that this election is bad for Kenya,” he said.
He warned the international community to stop pushing the country into having the Thursday poll, saying it was this kind of pressure that pushed Zimbabwe into economic oblivion.
“Kenya cannot be forced into an election that will destroy lives, the economy and national cohesion,” he said.
He was speaking during the burial of Okech Hongo, a former Nyanza Knut executive secretary. The ODM nominated MP said cancelling the repeat election will not create a constitutional crisis as claimed by a section of Jubilee MPs because “the law is a product of politics.” Sossion declared he would not relinquish his position as Knut secretary general as pushed by TSC, saying his position in Parliament presented the only opportunity to fight for Education sector reforms.