Opposition supporters and their leaders, led by former prime minister Raila Odinga, are marching to the electoral commission’s headquarters for another protest against the commission.
The protest is happening in Kisumu and the youths came out en mass to join the opposition leaders send home the commissioners accused of being deeply corrupt.
They have sworn to maintain their IEBC protests until senior officials, including the chairman, resign before the next general elections expected in August 2017. Jubilee MPs moved to court last week to stop CORD’s march to IEBC. But the court ruled on Thursday that CORD is allowed to engage with IEBC to seek changes to their issues, though cautioning against violence.
To ensure the protest is peaceful, government has deployed anti-riot police officers to stop Cord’s planned protest ahead of the protest.
Police riot vans have been all over the places as the planned protests go on.
— Ma3Route (@Ma3Route) May 9, 2016
Nairobi County Commander Japheth Koome admitted that police will not allow act of lawlessness anywhere. But he didn’t specify the number of officers drawn from AP, regular police officers, GSU, Prisons and the NYS deployed in Nairobi streets to disperse the opposition leaders and their supporters.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion but that should not lead to lawlessness.”
Some Jubilee top officials, including president Uhuru and his deputy, have called on CORD leaders to make use of alternative means, acceptable under the law, in sending the commissioners home.
But the members of the coalition have paid a deaf ear, insisting that they will not stop the IEBC protest until the IEBC officials leave their offices ahead of the 2017 elections, as they can’t be trusted to deliver a credible election. In an interview, former minister Raila ruled out the possibility of using the National Assembly to achieve his demands of dissolving IEBC commissioners, saying Jubilee has been using its tyranny to frustrate the move.
Unmoved by Monday’s protest that was marred by teargas, the coalition’s leaders including Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula said they would boycott the next election if the commissioners are not laid off. Referencing the Okoa referendum, Raila said the commission works for just the ruling party which he says was glaring when they announced that only half of the 1.6 million signatures were valid.
Raila claimed that IEBC’s unwillingness to validate the signatures was because of a clause in their draft Bill that provided for reforms at the commission.
He also alleged that the commissioners have been promised high jobs by President Uhuru Kenyatta if they succeed in tampering with the election’s results in 2017. In response, the electoral agency dismissed the claims challenging Raila to provide evidence to substantiate his claims.